The estate of alumnus William N. Beck has conveyed a $100,000 bequest to the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund, whose annual competitive awards are presented under the aegis of the Fresno State Alumni Association.
The Beck bequest is the biggest to an alumni association scholarship endowment at any of the California State University’s 23 campuses, said Peter Robertson, director of annual giving at California State University, Fresno.
Robertson, who holds three degrees from Fresno State, established the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund in 2005. With Mr. Beck’s advice and donations, the fund’s endowment had accumulated nearly $50,000 prior to the bequest.
The bequest was announced Saturday, Jan. 26, to the association’s Board of Directors.
“We are privileged to have had the opportunity to meet such a generous man,” said Valerie Vuicich, president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. “Mr. Beck loved this university and his dedication is a true example of Bulldog Pride. His gift will positively affect the lives of students for many generations to come.”
Mr. Beck, who was born in 1929, graduated from Fresno State in 1952 with a degree in business. He went on to great success in wine marketing. He was one of the people who helped the California wine industry’s expansion by acquainting people with wine in a variety of ways during the 1960s and ’70s.
He died July 2, 2007, in the Bay Area community of Inverness.
In the last year and a half of his life, Mr. Beck took a special interest in the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund, Robertson said, after visiting the campus for the fall 2006 Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala at the Save Mart Center. He also attended the announcement of civil engineering major Jared Lindo as the first Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund awardee.
Robertson credits Mr. Beck with good advice that helped build the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund rapidly to the point it was able to award three scholarships in 2007: a second to Lindo and grants to Sara Martinez (Social Work) and Adrian Quintero (Criminology and Latin American Studies).
“Rarely do you find people who are so committed to students and really understand what we mean when we say, ‘Fresno State is powering the New California,'” Robertson said. “Mr. Beck got it and he wanted to make as big a difference as he could in our students’ lives by generously sharing some of what his Fresno State education helped him earn.”
Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund: www.bulldogpride.org.
Fresno State Alumni Association: www.fresnostatealumni.com