- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Nearly 200 people gathered at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center yesterday to send off retiring director Fred Swanson. The event was covered by ABC 30 Action News, the No. 1 broadcast news outlet in Fresno.
Reporter Dale Yurong interviewed Swanson in front of the center's two-story office, laboratory and meeting room complex, one of many expansions at the center that Swanson oversaw during his 26-year tenure at the helm.
"The idea was to put Kearney on the map and really develop this research center into a world-class facility," Swanson said on camera.
Somehow, Yurong was able to add video of a young Swanson to his two-minute report. It looks to me the man in the black-rimmed glasses in the same clip is Kearney-based entomologist Charlie Summers, though Yurong mentioned the name of retired UC viticulture academic Pete Christensen during his brief appearance. (It may be Christensen in the next clip walking a vineyard with Swanson.)
Swanson and Christensen were viticulture farm advisors in the Fresno County UC Cooperative Extension office in the 1970s.
"That was the heyday of the grape boom. Many of these growers had never grown grapes and not really been exposed to viticulture and so it was a challenging period of time, but it was an exciting period of time," Swanson said.
Attending the luncheon yesterday were many of Swanson's colleagues, area farmers, dignitaries from the cities of Reedley and Parlier, representatives of state and federal legislators, a member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors and the Fresno County sherriff, Margaret Mims.
When Sheriff Mims was introduced, UC IPM advisor Walt Bentley wondered aloud, "Is she looking for Fred?"