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Fresno reels residents back

With smog-filled streets affecting health and an economy based on agriculture, some feel the need to move away after graduation. Campus alumni, however, often return to Fresno after college, where they take residence and build careers.

Dr. Samuel Hinton, ’92 alumnus, Cataract and LASIK Specialist at EYE-Q Vision Care, returned to the San Joaquin Valley after eight years of medical school, four years of which were spent at The University of Louisville, Kentucky.

“When I was 15 years old, I had to get my eyes checked at the eye doctor,” Hinton said. “I got in trouble because I played with all the buttons. That was around the time that I realized that I wanted to become a doctor. Before I was 15, I did not want to, because I knew I had to go through a lot of education.”

During his college years in Kentucky, Hinton often entertained the thought of where to live and take up his practice.

“Throughout my high school years at FC, I was pretty much set on remaining in this city when it was time to get a job,” Hinton said. “A couple of things helped me make my decision: my family was here, and the job market was, and still is, excellent. Even though there were jobs that I could have taken elsewhere, Fresno felt like the right place to work and carry on with my life.”

Jessica Giannetta, ’97 alumna, also chose to return to Fresno after several years in law school in Southern CA.

“During the years I went to school at FC, I always wanted to be an attorney,” Giannetta said. “Eventually, becoming a lawyer seemed more appealing. I ended up leaving Fresno to go to college at Pepperdine University and then UC Hastings for law school. I decided to come back to Fresno, because my family lives here and they are really important to me.”

Whether it be the central location, increasing business opportunities or growing economy, the continual development in the Valley seems to reel past residents back in.

“The one bad thing about living here is that few of my friends live here now,” Giannetta said. “They all moved away to work somewhere else, because they felt Fresno wasn’t the place for them. Even though it is hard for me not having them around all the time, my job now supports my needs and I love what I do.”

According to Halley Cornell’s March 2004 article, Major Construction in All Corners: Several Segments Fueling Fresno’s Growth, “Fresno is stretching its limbs. With a population surging to 411,900 from 354,000 in 1990, California’s sixth-largest city may be shedding its farmtown image.”

Since Cornell’s article Fresno has continued to grow. With commercial development downtown and residential expansion across Fresno, it only seems logical for shopping center and restaurant additions.

“I used to be absolutely positive of where I wanted to go to college, and how long I wanted to be there,” Andrew Biehler, ’08, said. “Now, I am not so sure. I know that I want to go to Fresno Pacific University and possibly become a music teacher, but again, I am not positive. Many of the reasons why I would stay in Fresno are that my girlfriend and most of my family live here. I have also lived here all of my life and I would miss it if I left.”

Although these alumni express no regret for their choice of residence, current students anticipate moving away after graduation. Even Fresno’s proximity to national parks like Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite or the Pacific Ocean still cannot keep everyone in the city.

“I cannot wait until high school ends because I want to leave Fresno,” Kelsey Gunner, ’11, said. “It is not that Fresno is a horrible place, but after living here for all of my life, it can get pretty boring. It is smoggy all of the time and it is either extremely hot, or freezing cold. I cannot imagine living here after school, let alone working here.”

Matthew Shattuck, ’07 alumnus, encourages students to consider Fresno colleges because of opportunities and convenient prices.

“Fresno State has a wonderful engineering program that competes with Stanford and Cal Poly,” Shattuck said. “Fresno does have a lot of advantages, including cheaper cost of living as compared to L.A. or the Bay Area. I also decided to stay because starting college is already hard enough; why make it harder by moving out?”

Josh Smith, ’11, believes that despite the flaws of a big city, Fresno provides entertainment suitable for teenagers or growing families.

“When people think of Fresno, they might only think of smog or poverty,” Josh Smith, ’11, said, “but I don’t think people give Fresno enough credit. This city offers great job opportunities and there are cool places to eat, like Claim Jumpers. There are also places like the Blossom Trail and the the parkway trail near Woodward Park that give people the chance to go outdoors. I think Fresno is a good place.”

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    Jeremiah BrownFeb 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I like the look of that score in the background. Good job guys.