The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology announced that Manuel Mancebo, Jr. from Tulare has pledged a $1 million bequest in support of the Fresno State dairy science program.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro, Jordan College Dean Sandra Witte, faculty, staff, students and industry supporters honored the former area trucking magnate and his deceased wife, Katye, May 6 at a dairy science club banquet in Tulare.
In recognition of their generosity, Fresno State will request that the campus dairy production facility be renamed the Manuel “JR.” and Katye Mancebo Dairy.
“We sincerely appreciate this gift that will benefit our dairy program for years to come,” said Castro. “The dairy industry is a key part of agriculture in California, so it’s important to modernize our facilities and resources to give our students a real-life experience to prepare them for careers around the Central Valley and beyond.”
Mancebo, 87, helped build Kings County Truck Lines into an industry leader before selling the company in 2006. Starting as a mechanic apprentice for the family company at the age of 17, climbed the company ranks, taking over the family business in 1971 at the age of 41.
Founded in 1940 by Mancebo’s father and Portuguese immigrant Manuel S. “Spike” Mancebo, the company developed a reputation for its safe and reliable transportation of milk products and dry goods throughout the Central Valley and Southern California. Mancebo’s commitment to client service helped the company expand its operations to Northern California, Oregon, Arizona and Utah, as it added major contracts with companies such as Safeway and Baskin-Robbins.
At the height of its business, its shipping line grew to 1,000 trucks and more than 800 employees.
Mancebo was equally respected within the Tulare community with his wife of 61 years, Katye, who passed away in November 2014. They were active in supporting area charities, including Valley Children’s hospital, St. Aloysius Catholic Church and other community and education-based organizations.
“On behalf of my late wife and myself, we are especially happy to support Fresno State as it educates future leaders for the dairy industry – an industry that played such an important role in our lives,” said Mancebo.
The Fresno State dairy is run by first-year faculty member and Fresno State graduate Dr. Kyle Thompson and a workforce of 20 students. With a milking string of 170 Holstein and Jersey cows, Fresno State students are exposed to every part of the industry. Campus milk is transported each day to the California Dairies Co-op, and used by Fresno State students at the campus creamery to produce milk, 45 flavors of campus ice cream and other dairy products.