Stanislaus State remembers Calvin Bright

January 22, 2020


The University is saddened to hear of the January 11 passing of Calvin Edward Bright, whose dedication to students and education was reflected by the generous gifts his family foundation bestowed on Stanislaus State and other colleges in the region.

“Calvin Bright and the Bright Family Foundation have been generous friends of Stanislaus State for many, many years,” said Stan State President Ellen Junn. “The family’s continuing impact on the lives of college students throughout the Central Valley is both immeasurable and greatly appreciated.”

The foundation started a program at Stanislaus State in 1986 that has awarded hundreds of scholarships to Stan State students. In addition, the foundation worked to make housing available to visiting faculty and students. It also funded the development of the University’s gateway sign and plaza at the corner of Monte Vista Avenue and Geer Road, as well as the pergola pavilion that graces Village Lake east of Bizzini Hall. 

Mr. Bright, 99, was born and raised in Oklahoma. Upon his graduation from Oklahoma A&M in 1942 he married his high school sweetheart Marjorie Hensley and they moved to California. Years later, they founded Bright Foods in Turlock, the first frozen food processing plant west of the Rockies.

After his company merged with Banquet Foods, he established manufacturing, construction and property management companies. Bright Development has built planned communities throughout the region. The success of those businesses led to the creation of the Bright Family Foundation, which has made a huge impact on Stanislaus State and its students.

Mr. Bright frequently shared that his experience at Oklahoma A&M (since renamed Oklahoma State University) was the key to his business success and was where the passion for creating educational opportunities was born. That passion was shared by Marjorie, as well as by their daughter Carol Bright Tougas, both of whom went on to serve on the Stanislaus State Foundation Board.

A celebration of life will take place on Friday, January 24, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. at First United Methodist Church at 850 16th St, Modesto. Burial will be private.