Research into the most pressing water issues facing Central California will significantly expand with a gift to Fresno State from local entrepreneur Claude Laval. The university will receive $300,000 over two years to establish the Claude Laval Water Research Fund.

Because water is a multifaceted topic that involves a broad spectrum of curricula, Fresno State is establishing an eight-member cohort of faculty to bring their expertise in science, engineering, education, geography, business, public health and journalism.

“Water is an issue that touches nearly every aspect of our lives,” explained Provost William A. Covino. “This faculty cohort and research fund enables the university to take a uniquely comprehensive approach to the study of water. Fresno State is now poised to break new ground in the development of solutions for our most critical water-related issues.”

The Claude Laval Water Research Fund will provide faculty start-up funding for research projects, giving Fresno State an additional attraction in recruiting distinguished faculty.

The first appointments to the water cohort will be for fall. During the 2012-13 academic year, the Laval Water Research Fund will offer $220,000 for research in the university’s departments of:

  • Plant Science, with a specialization in irrigation and water management.
  • Civil and Geomatics Engineering, with a specialization in hydraulics, water resources and environmental engineering.
  • Earth and Environmental Science, with a specialization in hydrogeology.
  • Curriculum and Instruction, with a specialization in science education of water delivery, quality monitoring, wastewater treatment, irrigation and the cultural impact of water. quality and availability.
  • Mass Communications and Journalism, with an interest in environmental media production and journalism.

The fund will provide $80,000 to support research for faculty members appointed during the 2013-14 academic year in:

  • Geography, specializing in water management at the landscape water level.
  • Public Health, specializing in water quality and community health.
  • Management, with specialization in water policy, quality, sustainability, logistics and entrepreneurship.

Laval founded the Claude Laval Corporation and LAKOS Separators and Filtration Systems. For more than 30 years the Fresno-based companies have provided innovative and adaptable solutions for specific filtration issues. LAKOS is a world leader in the water filtration industry.

Many of the products offered by the companies were invented by Laval’s father Claude C. Laval Jr. In 1984, Laval honored his father’s legacy by establishing the Claude C. Laval Jr. Award for Innovative Technology and Research at Fresno State.

Laval’s support for and advice to Fresno State on water and irrigation over the years was recognized by the naming of the Claude Laval Water and Energy Technology Incubator (WET Center) on campus in partnership with the Central Valley Business Incubator. The WET Center is a vital resource for innovative local entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their business in water and energy technology and help stimulate the regional economy.

For more information, contact Kathleen Schock, communications director of the Campaign for Fresno State, at 559.278.2756 or

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