Leon S. Peters, son of Armenian immigrants, was born in 1905, graduated from high school in 1923. He grew up on the family farm in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1929, some years after the loss of his parents, he became a salesman for Valley Foundry and Machine Works, which manufactured a wine grape crusher that revolutionized wine production. Due to his entrepreneurial vision of the company's potential, he eventually purchased the business, and led it through change and expansion to become a world-recognized supplier of agricultural equipment.
Leon S. Peters, a man of high values, ethics, and character; a respected businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist, lived and worked according to the highest ethical standards. He loved and valued his community and considered its welfare his personal responsibility. Leon S. Peters undertook leadership positions in numerous organizations in his community.
Mr. Peters was not able to attend college, but through his generous support of scholarships at both CSUF and San Joaquin College of Law, he ensured that many others would get that opportunity.
The Peters name adorns several buildings on the CA State University Fresno campus in honor of his spirit, service and commitment to the institution, including: the Leon S. Peters Business Building, which honors the spirit of the man who served on the University President's Advisory Board, the CSUF Foundation Board of Governors, the University's Agricultural Board, and the Business Advisory Council of the School of Business and Administrative Sciences. Also named in his honor at CSUF are the Leon S. Peters Business Building in the Craig School of Business, an educational center in the Student Recreation Center and two exhibition galleries in the Henry Madden Library
For his many contributions to CSU-Fresno, Leon S. Peters was posthumously awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by The California State University in 1997.
The Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center at Community Medical Centers of Fresno was named in his honor for his contributions to the facility and the community.
Well-known for giving to local charities through the Leon S. Peters Foundation, the Peters family gave millions to a number of philanthropic causes, including California State University, Fresno, Community Regional Medical Center, San Joaquin College of Law, and the now-defunct Fresno Metropolitan Museum. After Leon Peters' death, his brother Peter assumed the role of Chairman of the Leon S. Peters Foundation.
Sources: CSUF Craig School of Business webpage, The Fresno Bee, and various sources.
Alice A. Peters
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