Support for Farm Credit Multicultural Scholars in Agriculture program nears $500,000

Five of California’s top agricultural lenders pledged their continued support for the Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology’s Farm Credit Multicultural Scholars in Agriculture program.

The program, led by Jordan College professor Dr. Steven Rocca and University Outreach Coordinator Desiree Molyneux, was created to build closer ties between the Jordan College and future agricultural leaders from Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties. Through the program, Fresno State agriculture students will mentor high school students interested in pursuing careers in agricultural science and technology.

“At Fresno State, we have a laser-like focus on helping students succeed,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “Programs such as the Multicultural Scholars in Agriculture are crucial to student success because research indicates that students who are actively engaged with the University are more likely to graduate.”

The endowment now stands at $495,000 in commitments, thanks to nearly $300,000 in combined gifts from Farm Credit System members American Ag Credit (Santa Rosa), CoBank (Roseville), Farm Credit West (Roseville), Fresno Madera Farm Credit and Golden State Farm Credit (Kingsburg).

These gifts will be matched by a $200,000 Title V-Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grant by the U.S. Department of Education.

On December 12, representatives of the financial institutions met with Castro, Jordan College Interim Dean Dr. Sandra Witte and the program’s first class of student ambassadors, including:

– Courtney Carlton from Kerman, CA
– David Jaime from Winterhaven, CA
– Lennette Gutierrez from Salinas, CA
– Desirae Perez from Filmore, CA
– Toushulong Vang from Fresno, CA

The Jordan College students were selected to participate in the program based on their academic standing, career objectives, ethnic backgrounds and their strong interest in promoting higher education opportunities in agriculture.

Each participating student will receive $1,500 for the 2015 spring semester. In return, they will work as mentors with ethnically-diverse high school students in rural communities across the Central Valley. More than 100 languages are spoken in this culturally-diverse region, and Fresno County alone is composed of 70 nationalities

Fresno State’s student population is equally diverse. Seventy percent of the university’s 23,179 students report minority heritage, and Hispanics represent the largest overall percentage (39.4 percent).

The Jordan College is one of the West Coast’s most diverse colleges of agriculture, and its 1,000-acre farm laboratory reflects the region’s reputation as the most productive agricultural area in the world.

To discuss potential partnership opportunities to fund academic positions or programs, contact Alcidia Freitas Gomes at or 559.278.4266.

For more information, contact Geoff Thurner, Jordan College media and development communications, at 559.278.7221 or