Longtime supporter of the university Stuart Sperber passed away Sept. 7 after a courageous battle with throat cancer.
An alumnus of the Cal Poly Pomona Voorhis Campus, Sperber created an impressive name for himself, his family and his company in the landscape, nursery and tree industries. Throughout his successful career, he remained dedicated to the betterment of the university.
“Stuart's commitment to Cal Poly Pomona was unparalleled, but above all he was an exceptionally kind man,” said President Michael Ortiz. “I will certainly miss the good council and sage advice he has provided me over the years.”
Sperber developed Valley Crest Tree Company into the largest containerized specimen tree growing operation in the United States. In addition, as vice president of Environmental Industries, he and his brother created the largest landscape nursery maintenance and site development contracting firm in the country.
In 1999, the College of Agriculture recognized his success in the industry with the Award of Distinction. This spring, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus for the college. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Science during the college's commencement ceremony on June 9.
Sperber also actively participated on the President's Council and the University Educational Trust.
He extended himself for many years to beautify the campus. His company helped university venues such as AGRIscapes and the Japanese Garden become some of the most beautiful and picturesque places in the region.
The California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers honored him with the 2005 Pacific Coast Nurseryman Award. This prestigious recognition is given to those who have demonstrated a lifetime of horticultural excellence and professional achievement. The association acknowledged his pioneer efforts on behalf of the nursery landscape industry for more than 50 years and how his contributions have advanced the industry throughout California.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Leslie; children: Rochelle and Tadd, Adam, Julie and Rob; seven grandchildren; twin sister Deanna; and brother Burton.
Services were held Sept. 10 at Mount Sinai in the Hollywood Hills.