~ Photos by Taylor Blaire Mosher, COSS media assistant

Fresno State students can now earn a degree in city and regional planning from the College of Social Sciences. The bachelor of science program is the only such program in the Central Valley and began this fall 2017.

Fresno State College of Social Sciences interim dean Michelle DenBeste and Geography Department chair Michelle Calvarese joined Brent McCaffrey and city of Fresno urban planner, Dan Zack to officially announce the new degree program at the McCaffrey corporate office on September, 8.

The College of Social Sciences is excited to finally be able to offer a degree program in city and regional planning,” DenBeste said.  “The partnership with The McCaffrey Group will allow students hands-on opportunities to see the various phases of development as well as provide opportunities for research on all aspects of development from water conservation, to open spaces to various types of residential and commercial development.”

The new degree program will provide students with hands-on experience in design and infrastructure through a case study class on the Tesoro Viejo development, a 1,600-acre site at the foot of Little Table Mountain.

“We commend the efforts of Fresno State to deliver a city and regional planning degree program that will go far in serving the needs of our region,” said Brent McCaffrey, president of The McCaffrey Group.  “We are thrilled to invest in the higher education of students in an area that is of critical importance for the future of our community.”

Jointly owned by the McCaffrey and Lyles families, the new Tesoro Viejo community is a community located off Highway 41 in Madera County’s designated growth area, Rio Mesa.

Students will learn about the community designed to be a vibrant hub for southeast Madera County with housing and business opportunities, a walkable town center with an open-air plaza, thriving industry and neighborhood parks and schools.  Recognized for its innovative design and sustainable living, the community will include more than 15 miles of trails; 400 acres of parks, recreation and open spaces; and an on-site fire station and sheriff substation.

“Having a local program churning out talented people that are ready to go and are excited about it and want to stay in their own community and be part of a team that helps plan its future, is gonna be really great,” said Dan Zack, city of Fresno urban planner. “We’ll be ready to bring in interns and are excited to have folks from this program to choose from when we have future planning positions open.”

The University received strong community support from regional planners, city officials and corporations like PG&E, as well as scholarship funds donated by McCaffrey Homes, Bonadelle Homes, Granville Homes, Penstar Group and Silkwood Ventures.

The McCaffrey Group expressed they are committed to the education of future city and regional planners. They awarded the first $5,000 McCaffrey-Knowlton Scholarship this year to Joshua Medeiros, a Fresno State student in the new city and regional planning program. The scholarship creates opportunities for future city planners by providing $25,000 in scholarships over five years. The scholarship is named for Brent McCaffrey and Ash Knowlton, family members who are continuing the legacy of giving back to the community.

The new program, which replaces an option within the geography major that has been offered since 2014, will require completion of 120 units (including 42 units in major requirements).

Check out the slideshow below for pictures from the news conference.

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