Fresno State President Talks Football, Family, Valley and His Love of Cooking
Tending to 30 guests at a time, does Fresno State president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval have a chance to watch the football game?
“I don’t get to watch a lot of the game, but I do get to watch the touchdowns. When the crowd goes wild, then I go and see what’s happening,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.
The presidential suite at Valley Children’s Stadium stretches across two rooms, at the end of the skyboxes. Not even the university’s leader gets 50-yard line tickets.
One day after his investiture — academia’s version of a welcoming ceremony for a new president — Jiménez-Sandoval entertained Cal State trustees, campus officials, and his family on Saturday night.
“It was a very emotional ceremony for me, but also very meaningful. I have very deep roots in the region. And it’s really not about me. It’s about the region coming together under the vision of who we are and of the future,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.
Approximately 1,000 attended the investiture ceremony at the Save Mart Center, joined by several CSU trustees, presidents at other campuses, and the system’s interim chancellor, Jolene Koester.
Two Games Versus Pac-12. Will Fresno State Join?
Despite playing the first of two consecutive games against Pac-12 Conference opponents, the topic of whether Fresno State could join the Power 5 conference never came up during Saturday’s game versus Oregon State.
The president’s spokesman said no recent discussions have taken place. The rumors started this summer when Pac-12 members UCLA and USC announced they would leave for the Big Ten Conference in 2024. Fresno State is one of several schools being as a replacement.
The Bulldogs travel to Los Angeles to play seventh-ranked USC (2-0) on Saturday. It could be a game of redemption for the Bulldogs after a last-second loss to Oregon State on Saturday.
President Selects the Meal in the Suite
Jiménez-Sandoval doesn’t make the meal in his skybox suite, but he does select the menu. For Saturday, it was Mexican — tortillas with a choice of pork or “beyond beef” filling.
He said he does not like to brag about himself, but Jiménez-Sandoval takes personal pride in his own cooking.
“I don’t actually say things about myself most of the time, but with cooking, I’m actually a very good cook,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.
Mexican and Greek are his specialties. A native of Mexico, Jiménez-Sandoval immigrated when he was 10 and settled in Fowler. He found a career in academia, starting at Fresno State in 2000 on the teaching faculty.
His wife, Marianna Anagnostopoulos, is a faculty member in the philosophy department.
Blending their cultures together — and not just for food — their sons have a portmanteau of a last name: 16-year-old Arion and 14-year-old Leo Jimesanagnos.
His sons participated in the investiture ceremony, performing the National Anthem. Both University High School students, they hitch a ride with Dad to the campus school.