For the past 40 years Ken Fugelsang has provided countless students with the education necessary to make it in the wine industry. His students have won hundreds of awards, and after four decades of service to the university, he will retire this spring.
The highlight of his career is having trained students who have gone on to have international success, as well as having won over 350 awards.
“Every year at graduation we see another group of winemakers going out to make contributions to the business,” Fugelsang said. “They are graduates who have been very successful, so that is certainly an important thing. Probably number one in terms of feeling good about accomplishments,”
Fugelsang has worked with other professionals around the world. He has published over 150 technical papers and 14 books.
Not only has Fugelsang made an impact on the Fresno State campus, but he has also been internationally recognized for his works in publications and books.
Although Fugelsang is officially retired, he is going to continue his participation in the department.
“I am a local. So as long as my health is good I will continue doing that. I still enjoy what I do of course. It’s just after 40 years it’s time to bring some new ideas in,” Fugelsang said.
Fugelsang has a long history at Fresno State, a history that goes back to the 1970s. Prior to becoming an associate professor and winemaster, Fugelsang was a student at Fresno State, and studied zoology and botany.
After receiving a master’s degree in zoology and botany, Fugelsang didn’t know what his career would be.
Immediately after finishing his master’s, a job opportunity in the Enology Department opened up. Despite his lack of training in the field, he decided to pursue it.
“I was not classically trained in this field; I was trained in sciences,” Fugelsang said. “I taught myself, basically. It was a very applied version of what I did in biology and chemistry.”
After spending more 40 years on campus, Fugelsang has witnessed it grow and develop into what the university is today. Reflecting on his time as a student and professor, Fugelsang has seen a huge change.
“[I have seen a] tremendous increase in infrastructure as well as staffing and programs,” he said. “Basically, at the time you had your classic array of academic programs. Today we’ve got a very much more diversified offering in terms of attracting students.”
Fugelsang was an addition to this growth.
Fugelsang plans to travel with his wife now that he is retired.
Students, faculty and friends will be gathering in order to honor Fugelsang’s 40 years of dedication to the campus’ Viticulture and Enology Departments.
The formal celebration will take place on March 24 at the Fort Washington Golf and Country Club. The event will consist of a dinner, silent wine auction and gift presentation in honor of Fugelsang. Reservations will be open March 7 to all who wish to attend.