Fresno State president embracing his Hispanic culture, motivating multi-cultural students

He grew up in Fowler and said he values his Mexican roots and his deep bond with the Central Valley.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we're shining a light on some of the many role models in our community. That includes Fresno State's University President Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval.

He grew up in Fowler and said he values his Mexican roots and his deep bond with the Central Valley.

"I always questioned what my role was in this country because I was not born here," said Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval.

Born and raised in Mexico until age 9, Dr. Saul Jiménez-Sandoval says he found a way to embrace his Latino roots while striving for a new legacy in the United States.

"I became engrossed in literature because I saw the possibility of going back in history and seeing all of these generations of immigrants having come through and then seeing myself as the next link coming here," he said.

He says working as a young child at his family farm taught him the power of hard work and the value of a united family. It also motivated much of his success.

Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval joined Fresno State as faculty in 2000 before becoming the university's ninth president in May of this year. He loves hearing from students who say his journey has inspired them to have no limits.

"I am very proud of my heritage, and I am very proud that I am able to empower our multicultural students regardless of their background," he said.

His wife, Dr. Mariana Anagnostopoulos, is also proud of her husband's passion for providing opportunities for students. She says he is able to connect with them in a meaningful way.

She says, "When he speaks about wanting people to succeed and attain their potential and have new avenues here at the university, that is very genuine."

At home, cooking traditional Mexican meals is one way he keeps his culture present - sharing it with his family, especially his two sons.

"I am having them come into the kitchen with me so that I can teach them how to make them too. One of their favorites is chiles rellenos, and we make some pretty mean chiles rellenos, actually," said Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval.

From cooking to educating and mentoring, Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval continues to promote the growth and success of those around him.

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