Fresno Pacific University took home bronze in the 2024 Best of Central California competition hosted by the region’s largest newspaper, The Fresno Bee.

Results were announced Sunday, June 2. FPU competed in the colleges and universities category, which was open to all dozen-plus post-secondary institutions—public and private four-year colleges and universities as well as community colleges—in the Valley, which includes Fresno, Madera, Merced, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.

“This recognition is not just an accolade but a reflection of the impact our students, faculty and staff have on the Central Valley. At Fresno Pacific, we believe in the power of education to transform lives, and this award underscores our commitment to that mission,” said André Stephens, Ph.D., president of FPU. “I want to thank our faculty and staff for their commitment to providing an exceptional, holistic education rooted in Christian values. Our students' success is our success, and this award highlights our collective efforts to make a positive impact on their lives and the broader community.”

Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University serves more than 2,900 students in traditional undergraduate, bachelor’s degree completion, graduate and seminary programs on campuses in Merced, Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield as well as online and through professional development studies. A strong majority of in-person students are from the Central Valley and live and work near where they study, benefiting their communities as well as themselves, their families and their professions.

The Central Valley's Christian university, FPU connects students' untapped potential with unlimited opportunity for professional, personal and spiritual growth. FPU is a Hispanic Serving Institution, with a Hispanic student population of 59%. Many students are also the first in their families to attend university, and both Hispanic and first-generation students enjoy the Valley’s highest four- and six-year graduation rates. 

Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, FPU is ranked highly by The Wall Street JournalWashington MonthlyU.S. News & World Report and Money, with U.S. News and The Journal placing the university fourth in social mobility for its graduates and both U.S. News and Washington Monthly including FPU on their “Best Value” and “Best Bang for the Buck” lists. FPU is affiliated with the Pacific District Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church.

Best of Central California

More than 3,800 organizations competed in the 2024 Best of Central California and 681 won gold, silver or bronze awards, according to The Bee. There were 11 overall categories, ranging from Eat & Drink to Law, each with numerous subcategories totaling about 300.

Results were decided by over 783,000 online votes made by more than 204,000 individuals—a 76% participation increase over last year. “With this year’s increased competition, winning Best of Central California is truly an accomplishment,” according to a statement by The Bee. “This program has quickly become the most comprehensive guide to businesses, restaurants and activities in Central California.” Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino was the presenting sponsor. 

Best of Central California will be promoted through a special magazine distributed throughout the region and available to visitors and others seeking information on the area, in printed and online editions of The Bee, social media and outdoor advertising. 

More at Winners for 2024 Best of Central California are Here! | Best of Central California



Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations