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Fresno State President Talks Football, Family, Valley and His Love of Cooking

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Fresno State president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval (left) entertains CSU Trustee Diego Arambula and guest Jeff Scogin. (GV Wire/David Taub)
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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.

Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval speaks at his investiture ceremony. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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.

A view from the president’s sky box at Valley Children’s Stadium. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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.

The menu for Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval’s skybox, including the nopales salad, tortillas and fillings. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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.

Fresno State president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval (right) and his family: Ari, Mariana, and Leo. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email