The Fresno State dairy will be renamed the Manuel “JR” and Katye Mancebo Dairy, in honor of long-time Tulare dairy family and former owner of Kings County Truck Lines.
Mancebo recently pledged to bequeath $1 million to the university’s dairy science program.
Mancebo and his late wife, Katye, were active in supporting area charities, including Valley Children’s hospital, St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Tulare and other community and education-based organizations. The Mancebos were recently honored for their generosity by Fresno State University President Joseph Castro, Jordan College Dean Sandra Witte, faculty, staff, students and industry supporters at a dairy science club banquet in Tulare.
“On behalf of my late wife and me, we are especially happy to support Fresno State as it educates future leaders for the dairy industry – an industry that played such an important role in our lives,” said Mancebo.
The Fresno State dairy is run by first-year faculty member and Fresno State graduate Kyle Thompson and a workforce of 20 students. With a milking string of 170 Holstein and Jersey cows, Fresno State students are exposed to every part of the industry. Campus milk is transported each day to the California Dairies Inc., a milk cooperative, and is used by Fresno State students at the campus creamery to produce milk, 45 flavors of ice cream, and other dairy products.
Mancebo, 87, helped build Kings County Truck Lines into an industry leader before selling the company in 2006. Starting as a mechanic apprentice for the family company at the age of 17, he climbed the company ranks, taking over the family business in 1971 at the age of 41.
Founded in 1940 by Mancebo’s father and Portuguese immigrant Manuel S. “Spike” Mancebo, the company developed a reputation for its safe and reliable transportation of milk products and dry goods throughout the Central Valley and southern California.
At the height of its business, its shipping line grew to 1,000 trucks and more than 800 employees.
Mancebo’s commitment to client service helped the company expand its operations to northern California, Oregon, Arizona and Utah, as it added major contracts with companies such as Safeway and Baskin-Robbins.
“We sincerely appreciate this gift that will benefit our dairy program for years to come,” said Castro. “The dairy industry is a key part of agriculture in California, so it’s important to modernize our facilities and resources to give our students a real-life experience to prepare them for careers around the Central Valley and beyond.”