When California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White visits his alma mater Wednesday, Nov. 13, he will be asked by Fresno State students to perform a special Thanksgiving service: pardon “Pepper,” a 17-week-old, 36-pound tom turkey.

Associated Students Inc. (ASI) will host the Fresno State Turkey Pardoning Ceremony at 11:15 a.m. in the Free Speech Area in front of the University Center.

At 3 p.m., the chancellor will hold a campus forum for employees and students in the North Gym conference room.

White, who was appointed a year ago as the seventh chancellor to head the 23-campus system, is visiting Fresno State as part of a system-wide tour. He is an alumnus of Fresno State (1970) and was the 1997 Top Dog Distinguished Alumnus.

ASI President Moses R. Menchaca will welcome White for the 10-minute ceremony to pardon the Nicholas broad-breasted white tom turkey provided by Foster Farms in coordination with Fresno State’s Animal Science department.

Joe Hedden, Foster Farms’ live grow out manager, will handle “Pepper” to insure the company’s Animal Welfare Standards are met. In 2010, Hedden also oversaw the care of the official Presidential turkey flock on a Foster Farms ranch outside of Modesto. That year, Foster Farms had the honor of raising the turkey pardoned by President Obama in the annual White House Thanksgiving tradition.

The family-owned poultry company based in Livingston works closely with the university’s Animal Science department through the Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility that opened on campus last year. A unit of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences, this poultry facility is the first in the nation to receive certification from American Humane AssociationTM (AHA).

Dr. Michelle Ganci, poultry professor, helped coordinate the Fresno State pardon event with Foster Farms.

ASI will provide Fresno State Ice Cream for the chancellor, who will meet with Fresno State student leaders for lunch at noon.

“­­It is great to see the Chancellor White visit his alma mater,” Menchaca said. “We know this will be a memorable campus visit for him as well as the rest of the Fresno State community.”

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