The campus ceremony was greeted by steady showers though many came prepared. For them it was more important to be here to leave red carnations at the base of the Chavez statue.
The wife of Fresno State President Joseph Castro addressed those in attendance. Mary Castro said, "Celebrations and commemorations like this are important for all Americans because they expose us to the heritage, culture, history and contributions of the historical figures like Cesar Chavez."
A movie about the life of Chavez opens in theaters around the country on Friday. Chavez fought to improve the conditions of farmworkers.
Luz Gonzales, the dean of Fresno State's college of social sciences, helped unveil the Chavez statue on campus 19 years ago. She said, "A lot of times students we do things today so that 20 years from now the next generation knows who to appreciate."
Chavez' accomplishments didn't appear to be lost on the very young. A little girl named Leah Santa Cruz told the crowd, "Cesar Chavez was a great man in his life. He helped a lot of people."
The UFW was born in 1966 when Cesar Chavez and his National Farm Workers Association joined forces with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, led by Filipino labor leader Larry Itliong.
The United Farm Workers and UFW Foundation will host a screening of "Cesar Chavez" at 5pm Sunday at Edwards Theater in River Park.