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Fresno State Needs a New Name for Library, Gets One for Football Stadium

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Fresno State's Library is no longer named after longtime and now disgraced university librarian Henry Madden. (GV Wire File)
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CSU trustees voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to remove the name of Fresno State’s longtime and now disgraced librarian from its library and to rename the university’s football stadium.

Removing Madden’s name completely will not be easy, however. In addition to signage, stationery, and other items, Madden’s name is stamped on millions of books, periodicals, and other library materials.

The trustees followed the recommendation of a Fresno State task force and President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval to remove Henry Madden’s name from the library after historical research by a professor uncovered Madden’s racist and antisemitic views.

For now, the library will be known as the Fresno State Library, or the Library.

In addition, the venue formerly known as Bulldog Stadium will be called Valley Children’s Stadium for at least the next 10 years. Valley Children’s Healthcare signed a 10-year agreement to pay $1 million annually in exchange for the stadium’s naming rights.

The California State University trustee vote on both renaming proposals came on the third day of the board’s meeting in Long Beach. There was no discussion as the items were on the consent agenda.

photo of Fresno State's Bulldog Stadium

The venue formerly known as Bulldog Stadium will be called Valley Children’s Stadium for at least the next 10 years after approval Wednesday, July 13, 2022, by CSU trustees. Valley Children’s Healthcare signed a 10-year agreement to pay $1 million annually in exchange for the stadium’s naming rights. (GV Wire File)

Pro-Nazi Views Long Hidden

Madden, the university librarian from 1949 to 1979, had not publicly espoused his beliefs, but they were laid bare in private writings that were included in the personal papers he donated to the library on the condition that they not be opened for a quarter-century.

Bradley Hart, an associate professor of media, communications, and journalism, was doing research for a book about Nazi sympathizers in America when he uncovered the racist and antisemitic views that Madden had expressed in communications with friends and family.

The task force appointed to investigate Madden learned that some of his decisions as a university administrator, including employee hiring and choices of materials for the library’s collection, were colored by his racist and antisemitic viewpoints.

Removing Madden’s name completely will not be easy, however. In addition to signage, stationery, and other items, Madden’s name is stamped on millions of books, periodicals, and other library materials.

New Name ‘Must Align with Our Communal Values’

In a news release from the university, Jiménez-Sandoval said the task force’s research made it clear that Madden had never disavowed or apologized for his views and was aware of what his papers contained when he donated them.

“Naming a building or any key campus area must align with our communal values and reflect our shared spirit of discovery, diversity, and distinction,” he said.

A task force will be formed to review the CSU naming policy in preparation for selecting a new name for the library, which could take a year or more and will require the concurrence of the CSU trustees.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email