Global agribusiness leader Olam Spices and Vegetable Ingredients (SVI) has established a $200,000 endowment with the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State to support interdisciplinary research of food and wine.

University President Joseph I. Castro announced the gift today during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Jordan Research Center, a new 30,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research center designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty in agricultural sciences and technology, engineering and science and mathematics.

The gift from Olam SVI will enrich the sensory evaluation, tasting and prep laboratory inside the Jordan Research Center. This space, which will be named in honor of the company, will allow scientists and panelists the ability to develop sensors and evaluate food and wine traits in a controlled environment.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating the groundbreaking of the Jordan Research Center and the new sensory lab, which will produce the next generation of food technologists and scientists right here in Fresno,” said Dave Watkins, Olam’s senior vice president for agricultural operations. “Olam is committed to working with local universities like Fresno State to cultivate new recruits and keep great talent in the San Joaquin Valley— investing in local education and research are invaluable ways to achieve this.”

Based in Fresno, Olam SVI is a top global supplier of dehydrated onion and garlic, spices, capsicums, tomatoes and specialty vegetables. The company sources from 12 origins, manufactures in six countries (United States, India, Peru, Vietnam, China and Egypt) and sells to more than 70 countries.

“Olam is a global leader in agribusiness known for its commitment to sustainability and improving social wellbeing,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College. “Its support of the Jordan Research Center deepens our partnership and creates new opportunities to bring exciting innovations to the food and wine industries.”

The Jordan Research Center will be located at the corner of Barstow and Woodrow avenues and is scheduled to open in fall 2015. The facility was made possible by a $29.4 million dollar gift from the Jordan family to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in 2009.

This $24 million project will feature flexible space designed for interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Faculty and students from the Jordan College will work alongside colleagues in the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Castro also announced two additional gifts to establish endowments to enhance laboratory spaces inside the building. Retired dentist Dr. Harry B. Moordigian, Jr. gave $200,000 to support a microbiology laboratory and alumni Earl and Beverly Knobloch gave in support of the instrument/robotics laboratory space.

For more information, contact Shannon Fast, associate director of development for the Jordan College, at 559.278.4266 or or Sara Nazarian, representing Olam SVI, at 310.752.4420 or

To discuss potential partnership opportunities in the Jordan Research Center, contact Alcidia Freitas Gomes at 559.278.4266 or

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