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Fresno State Benefactor Bud Richter Infused Spirit of Volunteerism into Campus

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Bud Richter, whose name is synonymous with volunteerism and philanthropy at Fresno State, died Thursday at the age of 94, the university announced Friday.

Bud Richter (Fresno Chamber of Commerce)

Richter is a prominent name on campus — in 2007 he and his wife Jan donated $3.5 million to establish the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, which Bud Richter hoped would “instill in students a lifelong character trait of giving to the community.”

Over the past 11 years, students, faculty, and staff have donated more than 1 million hours of community service yearly.

Elmer “Bud” Richter, a successful businessman who led his family’s Pepsi-Cola bottling business in the Valley, served on numerous boards including the Bank of Coronado, which he co-founded, Fresno Bank of Commerce, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Community Hospitals of Central California.

Fresno State Service

His service for Fresno State was vast — Mr. Richter served on boards of directors for The Bulldog Foundation and the California State University, Fresno Athletic Corporation, and was instrumental in raising funds to build Bulldog Stadium. He served on the Fresno State Foundation Board of Governors from 1979 to 2006, when he was awarded emeritus status, and also served on the Business Advisory Council for the Craig School of Business.

Mr. Richter received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Fresno State in 1998 and the Bulldog Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

The Richters received the Arthur Safstrom Service Award in 2005, awarded by the Fresno State Alumni Association for their service to the University and alumni. In 2006 Mr. Richter received the Leon S. Peters Award, presented by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.

‘He Made an Imprint on Thousands’

President Emeritus John Welty, who worked with the Richters to establish the center bearing their name, said it’s a permanent symbol of Mr. Richter’s commitment to service to better his community.

“Bud Richter was one of those special people who had a heart of gold, a deep sense of spirituality and cared deeply for people. He made an imprint on thousands of people,” Welty said.

Mr. Richter is survived by his wife, Jan; son, Brad; granddaughter, Renee Vandermeer and her husband, Nick; and two great-grandchildren, Matthew and Maci.

Services are pending. Interim President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval has ordered that Fresno State flags be posted at half-staff on a future date in honor of Mr. Richter.

2006 Leon S. Peters Award

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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