Long before most Toros are even awake, CSUDH grounds worker Fernando Goncalves is hard at work making the campus look great. For 11 years, he has arrived on campus at 5:30 a.m. every weekday to maintain and improve the landscape. â€œI really enjoy beautifying the campus for everyone to enjoy,â€ he says.
Goncalves is responsible for maintenance of the grounds around Welch Hall, Extended Education, and the North Lawn. His regular â€œbeatâ€ includes one of the most engaging landscape features on campus: the Little Village located in between the Student Health Center and University Theatre. In fact, Goncalves helped design and create the tiny village in 2014, which he says is his proudest contribution to the campus.
His family immigrated to the U.S. from Portugal in 1966, when Goncalves was an infant. He still counts a fun-filled vacation in Portugal as his favorite childhood memory, and maintains a connection to his heritage by singing in a Portuguese folk music group based in his hometown of Artesia, Calif. The group performs at events throughout the state.
Before working at CSUDH, Goncalves worked for a company that produced automotive fasteners forAmerican auto companies.He then took a job for a Santa Ana aerospace company that manufactured similar products for companies such as Boeing and Airbus, serving as a mechanic and lead person in the tapping and metal stamping operations.
When heâ€™s not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family and hanging out on the beach. Heâ€™s also a soccer aficionado who played semi-professionally for a year, although he admits his competitive playing days are behind him.
Goncalves loves working at CSUDH because of its â€œgreat atmosphere and friendly campus community.â€His daily contributions to that atmosphere are visible to everyone walking through campus, even when they might not realize it. The behind-the-scenes efforts of Goncalves and his colleagues are a crucial part of CSUDH being such a welcoming space for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors.