The Fresno State Viticulture and Enology Alumni Association will announce a matching challenge of up to $40,000 during an alumni reunion at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The matching challenge is being issued by former department chair Dr. Robert Wample and his wife Pam.

As part of the event, Fresno State will host its Alumni and Friends Reunion at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 in the Sacramento Hyatt Regency.

The Wample family has offered a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge up to $40,000 on gifts to the Viticulture and Enology Alumni Association until Dec. 31 in hope of raising a combined $80,000.

“Pam and I invite all others to contribute to this $40,000 match. We encourage those that can to help us exceed our expectations by the end of the year,” said Wample, who serves as president of the association.

The alumni association has a history of providing support to the Viticulture and Enology program at Fresno State with its primary mission to raise funds for the V. E. Petrucci Library, named for the founder of those programs.

“The Viticulture and Enology Alumni Association remains committed to helping build and strengthen the library and the department’s educational programs,” said Wample, who served as department chair and director of the Viticulture and Enology Research Center from 2000-2009. He helped raise more than $500,000 of industry funding for the research program during that time.

Dr. Jim Kennedy, chair of Fresno State’s Department of Viticulture and Enology, said the Petrucci Library is an important asset for the program and serves as an invaluable tool for researchers and industry members who desire to keep up with international developments.

“There is no other entity that touches all aspects of who we are,” Kennedy said. “From the enrichment in education to providing a space for student interactions, the Petrucci Library provides our students with the skills to thrive in the 21st century.”

Kennedy said Fresno State’s focus at the symposium will be to reinforce its strong connections with alumni.

“The Unified Symposium not only provides an educational forum for our industry, but it enables us to connect with our alumni and industry leaders throughout the state and world,” Kennedy said. “We look forward to connecting with our friends and colleagues about how they can be a part of the Viticulture and Enology Alumni Association and our joint mission to prepare our students for careers in the grape and wine industry.”

Billed as the largest of its kind in North America with about 13,000 participants, the symposium runs Jan. 28-30 at the Sacramento Convention Center (1400 J Street).

Presented by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, it provides practical information important to wine and grape industry professionals with a trade show featuring more than 650 suppliers and speakers who will discuss industry needs.

Viticulture and Enology faculty and staff will represent Fresno State at the department’s trade show booth (no. 1030) Wednesday and Thursday.

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