Petrucci to be honored at FFA meet; 5K race in campus vineyard

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Petrucci to be honored at FFA meet; 5K race in campus vineyard

Dr. Vincent Petrucci, Fresno State professor and director emeritus of viticulture, will be recognized by the California Future Farmers of America organization as one of 18 honorary state degree recipients at 3:45 p.m. Sunday, April 19, at Selland Arena in downtown Fresno.

Earlier in the day he will preside over the fourth annual Papa Petrucci 5K Race to raise funds for the on-campus V.E. Petrucci Library, which specializes in viticulture and enology resources. The event takes runners and walkers through the Fresno State vineyards beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Registration for the race begins at 8 a.m. at the Viticulture and Enology Research Center (2360 E. Barstow Ave. between Cedar and Maple).

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) ceremony is part of the 87th annual conference that runs from Saturday-Tuesday, April 18-21.

A former Escalon High School FFA Chapter student president, Petrucci joined the Fresno State faculty as a professor in 1948, and later served as director of Fresno

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FFA Field Day Class

State’s Viticulture and Enology Research Center before his retirement in 1993.

In addition to teaching grape and wine production, raisin production and processing classes, he also served as a faculty advisor for the Viticulture Club. Shortly after joining Fresno State, he organized the FFA vine pruning and vine judging contests that evolved into statewide contests and were run by Fresno State students and alumni.

“The tree-judging contest was a springboard for me as a high school student, and FFA gave me leadership skills that I used my entire life,” Petrucci said. “Hosting the contest has exposed thousands of students to viticulture and Fresno State. Many have extended that association as collegiate students and members of the industry, and it’s an honor that our Viticulture Club and department is still part of that cycle.”

In 1994, Fresno State awarded Petrucci an honorary doctorate for his impact on students, ties with the grape and wine industry and ability to raise funds for a program that has left a permanent footprint on the University.

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Dr. Vincent Petrucci with a group of students

Petrucci has been recognized with numerous awards including the Fresno State Outstanding Professor Award (1971), Wine and Vines Man of the Year (1981), Founder Award for Enology (1985), Fresno State Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Award (1986), University of California, Davis Distinguished Achievement Award (1995), American Vineyard Outstanding Service Award (1996) and the California State Fair Wine Lifetime Achievement Award (2009).

The Papa Petrucci 5K is organized by the Viticulture Club and officiated by Fleet Feet Sports of Fresno. Registration is $35 for community members and $25 for high school and college students (who must present a valid school ID at check-in).  The event is free for children age 13 and younger. Bottled water will be provided.

“We are very fortunate to have the only stand-alone library that specializes in viticulture and enology within our department,” said Derick Webb, president of the Viticulture Club. “Whether you run, walk or stroll, we invite everyone to help us raise funds for this great educational resource.”

Runners and walkers are encouraged to sign up in advance at http://goo.gl/forms/VsFnqoNDED and pay online.

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