Hundreds attend groundbreaking ceremony for new Fresno State student union, including couple who donated $10 million

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of people gathered at Fresno State on Thursday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a large new facility designed to serve students.

This ceremony marked a monumental moment for the university as it builds a new 84,000 square foot student union.

Student Body President Omar Hernandez says, "The current union was built for a campus population of 10,000 students. Fresno State's current population is one of 25,000 bold students."

The new facility is named after Lynda and Stewart Resnick. They are the founders of The Wonderful Company, which is known for many popular products, including Pom Wonderful juice and pistachios.

The couple donated $10 million toward the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new building.

The company has also provided scholarships for more than 200 students currently attending the university.

Lynda Resnick says, "We've been actively involved in philanthropy for many years, and we've been proud to support the causes that are dear to us, but none of our efforts have been more meaningful than our work in the Central Valley. "

During the ceremony, Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro announced that Bank of America is donating $250,000 and will have its name on a new welcome center inside the student union. Several other donors have also made significant contributions.

Dr. Castro says, "Thanks to the kindness of the many people who are here today, you are ensuring Fresno State recruits, educates, and graduates talented students to stay, work, and lead right here in the Central Valley."

Students will also help pay for the $60 million project. They voted to approve a fee of $149 per semester back in March of 2018.

Student and Chair of the University Student Union Board, Lauryn Flores, says, "They voted yes by 67%, and that is how this project came to be, by students, for students, from the very beginning."

Plans for the facility include space for student clubs, meeting rooms, dining options, and an outdoor rooftop lounge. People attending the ceremony were able to take a virtual reality tour of the building, which is scheduled to open in the fall of next year.

The old union will be used for programs and services that complement the new facility.
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