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The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Ag leadership class to present $100,000 donation at commencement

California Ag Leadership Foundation Class 45

(February 5, 2016) – Four Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology alumni are part of the California Agricultural Leadership Program class that will be will recognized at its commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6 in North Gym, Room 118.

The 45th annual graduating class includes Jordan College alumni Stanley Kjar (1999, Agricultural Business), Lauren Reid (2011, Animal Science), Jane Roberti (1985, Agricultural Business) and Justin Spellman (2000, Viticulture).

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro will speak at the ceremony, and Dr. Stephen Randolph, historian of the U.S. Department of State, will give the keynote address.

The 24-member class will also present a $100,000 donation to the Poverello House local charity to purchase a food truck to provide free meals and fresh produce to rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley. Money for the project was donated by class members and organizations statewide.

“Our biggest concern is that not enough rural areas are getting nutritious meals cooked, prepped and
served,” said Cruz Avila, executive director, Poverello House. “We want to better reach the ag community, and we thank the class for helping us connect to the community in new ways with this gift.”

The event will cap a three-day final seminar on campus for the group of emerging or mid-career agricultural leaders. Graduates of the program acquire skills to enhance the long-term success of their businesses, farms, ranches and organizations.

Over the past 17 months, the group has focused on leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical and strategic thinking, change management, emotional intelligence, and complex social and cultural issues.

Fresno State animal sciences Professor Dr. Michael Thomas serves as the Jordan College’s core faculty member for the program’s education team and as the foundation’s director of education.

Three other state agricultural universities serve as program partners: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona and University of California, Davis.

More than 1,200 men and women have participated in the program since the first class was introduced in 1970, making it the longest continuously-operating agriculture leadership training experience in the nation

“We are very proud of Class 45 and congratulate them on their achievements as servant leaders,” said Bob Gray, president and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. “These individuals have already proven their ability to make a difference by assuming leadership roles and helping communities in need.”

More information on the program is available at or Liza Teixeira (