California State University, Fresno has received a bequest from the estate of Dr. John M. and Cora G. Harvey of Fresno of $1.5 million to provide scholarships for students pursuing studies within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

It is the largest cash bequest in the college’s history.

Fresno State will establish an endowment fund in the Harveys’ name. Each year, approximately $75,000 will be provided to deserving students in the college, with priority given to graduate students.

Dr. Harvey earned a biology degree from Fresno State in 1942, a master’s at Stanford and a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of California, Berkeley.

After a four-year tour in the Army, Dr. Harvey spent 37 years with the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service’s Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fresno. His work centered on the prevention of diseases in fruit crops during storage and transport to markets worldwide. His emphasis was grapes, peaches and strawberries, all multimillion-dollar crops in the San Joaquin Valley. His research, which benefited consumers and industry, earned him several honors, including a USDA Award for Superior Service.

In the 1950s, Dr. Harvey developed a forecasting method that helps farm managers make decisions on the Botrytis decay potential of specific lots of fruit at harvest. He found a correlation between the level of decay forecast at harvest and the level of decay developing in cold storage.

Cora Harvey grew up on a dairy farm in the Hanford area. She worked many years as a bookkeeper for an automobile service business in Fresno. Mrs. Harvey and her husband shared many interests, including gardening and travel. She was a long-time member of the Sunnyside Garden Club, and the Harveys earned many prizes for the flowers they grew in their home garden.

Cora Harvey died in January 2005, nine years after her husband.

“The Harveys have provided significant contributions to the advancement of agriculture in California,” said Dr. Daniel Bartell, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. “Their generous estate planning will provide support for future generations of agricultural leaders.

“This support comes at an especially critical time as we work to help the agricultural industry sustain growth and remain competitive in a global market. We are in a very good position to help California agriculture and the food industry. A high-quality master’s degree program with high-quality students will allow us to provide the hands-on research that is needed.”

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State is dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life through education, research and public service in agriculture, food, technology and the family.

To contact the development office for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, please call Alcidia Freitas Gomes at 559.278.4266 or e-mail her at For more information about planned giving at Fresno State, contact Carol Widmer at 559-278-8337 or e-mail her at