Education · Fresno

Fresno State’s Ag College Dean Witte retires

Dr. Sandra Witte, the dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State, announced her retirement Tuesday, effective July 1. 

“Under Dean Witte’s steady leadership, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology has risen in academic stature and dramatically increased the number of partnerships with the agricultural industry,” said university President Joseph I. Castro in a release. “The Jordan College is poised for even more growth and new heights of success in the years to come.”

Witte worked for Fresno State for 38 years. She was named the Jordan College dean in March 2016 after serving as the interim dean since December 2014. 

The university said Witte made new partnerships in the Central Valley community and agriculture industry. She impacted enhanced scholarships, internships, career placement, advisory boards, research support and student recruitment. 

Under her watch, the school renovated the food science and nutrition laboratory and mechanized agriculture laboratory. 

Fresno State also opened the Jordan Agricultural Research Center in May 2016 and the Bee Sweet Citrus Fresh Fruit Packing Line in February 2017. The research center was a $24 million project. 

“It’s been an honor to serve the students, faculty and staff of the Jordan College and the University,” Witte said in a release. “All of our lives depend on agriculture, and being a part of the development of future ag leaders has been wonderful.”

Since Witte started in 1981, she served in the college as associate dean, dietetic program director and food science and nutrition faculty member and department chair. 

Witte also served as the executive director of Fresno State Programs for Children from 2012-2018 and was the interim dean of the Division of Graduate Studies from 2013-2014. 

Fresno State Vice Provost Dennis Nef was appointed as Witte’s replacement. He accepted a two-year appointment as dean. 

Nef has been with the school for 35 years, and he previously served as the acting Jordan College dean from 1997-1998. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at