$1.2 million gift to fund high-tech auditorium at Fresno State

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$1.2 million gift to fund high-tech auditorium at Fresno State

The Leon S. Peters Foundation and Pete Peters of Fresno each has pledged $600,000 — a total $1 2 million — to build the Leon and Pete Peters Education Research Center in the Save Mart Center at California State University, Fresno.

The donation is the first major, “legacy” gift to the Save Mart Center, a planned 16,500-seat indoor arena, entertainment and educational complex for the university.

The Peters gift will fund a 300-seat, auditorium-style classroom equipped with state-of-the-art learning technology, university officials said. The plan is to create a showcase room for advanced learning hardware and software.

Fresno State President John Welty said the facility will fill a void on campus. “We desperately need a large classroom like this, and especially one equipped with the latest technology and modern communications features. We need it not only for some of our regular classes, but also for special guest lectures, corporate seminars, news conferences and other special events. Thanks to the generosity of the Peters family, we will have it.”

Leon S. Peters, who died in 1983, was a longtime community leader and philanthropist committed to supporting Fresno State. He was instrumental in the fund drive to build Bulldog Stadium, and the Leon S. Peters Business Building on campus bears his name. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate posthumously in 1997. A room in the business building also bears the name of his widow, the Alice Peters Auditorium.

Younger brother Pete Peters said, “Leon once reminded me that this community had been very good to us and that we can’t just take from it, we have to give something back. I promised him I would do that. Now we are doing it together.

“I’m a big believer in education,” Peters said, “and now, when this new opportunity arose, we definitely wanted to be a part of it.”

The high-tech auditorium is planned for the southwest corner of the main arena building, near Shaw Avenue.