Meet Mrs. Castro


Mary Castro has been the First Lady at California State University, Fresno since August 2013, when her husband Joseph I. Castro became the University’s eighth president.Mary Castro

Mary embraces her role as an active campus and community volunteer. Public speaking and hosting events are two of her favorite activities. The City of Fresno honored her as Woman of the Year for District 4 in 2016. She enthusiastically hugs over 1,400 students during Commencement in May.

She has had an integral role in developing solutions for food security issues facing students.  She serves on the Food Security Executive Advisory Board at Fresno State, which has implemented several initiatives such as the Student Cupboard and the Catered Cupboard. Protecting the dignity of the students served while supporting their needs are two important goals of the programs.

Mary is the co-founder of The Year of Maya Angelou Book Club at Fresno State, which started in April 2015.Currently in its third year, the club is reading a Year of Isabel Allende.

Mary writes a monthly column for Fig Garden Magazine. She also is the co-host of “First Lady’s Focus,” a weekly public affairs program on Fresno State’s radio station KFSR 90.7 FM, which showcases the personal stories of “people who love Fresno State.” It airs Sundays at 10 a.m. and is streamed online at Episodes are podcast at

She serves on the Gender Advisory Board and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Planning Coalition at Fresno State. In September of 2016, Mary organized the Paint it Pawsitive Project, which continues to connect the community to students through painted inspirational stones.

Mary was appointed to the Fresno County Housing Authority Board in April of 2017 and serves on the Executive Committee. She is the former chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Board for Food to Share and serves on the Community Advisory Board for Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE). She is a member of the Fig Garden Women’s Club, the Fresno State Women’s Association and the Fresno County Farm Bureau. She is a graduate of the Future Advocates for Agriculture Concerned for Tomorrow Leadership Development Class XII.

She has served on a variety of Fresno State committees, including President Castro's Investiture, the Ryan Stiner Run for a Cause that benefited the Autism Center at Fresno State, KFSR Fest at University House and the March Match-up, an annual fundraiser to benefit the Fresno State Student Cupboard.

Mary was born and raised in Laton, California, a small farming community 23 miles southeast of Fresno, to Manuel and Mary Borges. Her father milked cows for 40-plus years and her mother was a certified nursing assistant. 

When Mary was 16, her father was injured and unable to work. She and her mother took over her father's responsibilities for four months – going to the barn, milking the cows and feeding the cows and calves.

Mary attended high school at Riverdale Christian Academy, where she was active in speech/debate, volleyball, yearbook staff and voice.

Following her marriage to Joseph Castro, Mary worked in various jobs, including the IRS, Fresno County Auditor’s Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles. As Dr. Castro moved to five University of California campuses and the UC Office of the President, Mrs. Castro held staff positions in various UC offices. They included Education Abroad and the Financial Aid office, where she was the representative in the annual campus-wide United Way fundraising campaign. She was twice recognized by the United Way with the Department Representative Super-Star Award for raising or increasing donations.

The Castros have three children: Isaac, a graduate student at Fresno State; Lauren; and Jess, a first grader.

First Lady's Focus 

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As of June 2017