I was deeply saddened to learn on Thursday of the passing of Robert E. (Bob) Smittcamp, a Fresno State alumnus and earnest friend of the University.

Bob was a loyal supporter of Fresno State, who believed in our university’s unique power to transform the lives of talented students. Indeed, his loyalty to Fresno State was based on his core values deep love of family, hard work to further our economy and pride in belonging to this fertile Fresno region.

Bob and the entire Smittcamp family have been visionary in their generosity and support of both academics and athletics at Fresno State. The Smittcamp Family Honors College is named in honor of his parents, the late Earl and Muriel, and the family, whose initial donation of $1 million provided the foundation for the establishment of the honors college in 1997. The Smittcamp family has, on an annual basis, provided student scholarships for the Smittcamp Family Honors College. The Smittcamp family was also the lead donor for the Smittcamp Alumni House at Fresno State, which opened its doors in March 2000.

Bob was our alumnus, having graduated in 1963 with a degree in Business Administration. He was co-owner of Wawona Packing Co. and former chairman and CEO of Lyons Magnus Inc., an international food and beverage manufacturing company.

He served on the Fresno State Foundation Board of Governors and was awarded emeritus status in 2009. He also served on the boards of directors of Saint Agnes Medical Center and American General Corp.

Bob is survived by his wife, Annette; son, Brent Smittcamp, and his wife, Lisa; daughter, Lisa Goeas, and her husband, Ed; son, Brandon Smittcamp, and two step-sons, Michael and Steven Ruocco; grandchildren Emma, Robert and Bennett Goeas and Nicole and Jack Smittcamp; siblings, Carol Copeland and her husband Lee, Betsy Kimball and her husband Bob, and William (Bill) Smittcamp and his wife Linda.

In his honor, flags at Fresno State will be lowered on May 29.