Claude Laval III

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Fresno

Claude Laval III was born and raised in Fresno. He was student body president at Fresno High School, then chose to attend Stanford University, where he earned a degree in Public Administration.  

He returned to Fresno after graduation, and became an entrepreneur venturing into teaching machines, then to a borehole inspection device entity, a public works and pipelining company as well as a liquid-solid filtration business known as LAKOS, which he grew over 42 years into an international success.

Aside from his business dealings, Mr. Laval served as director for several public and private corporations, providing expertise to lnternational Forest Products and Waterman lndustries as well as serving as president of the lnternational lrrigation Association.

Mr. Laval is a proud third-generation Fresnan who thought a lot about the future of the region. He knew how critical the role of a well-trained workforce and water accessibility would be to the ongoing success of the San Joaquin Valley. So, Mr. Laval turned his focus to California State University, Fresno. As a recognized international expert on water usage and irrigation, he championed the establishment of the Water and Energy Technology laboratory, which was later named in his honor.  

In 2003, Mr. Laval established the Entrepreneurship Mentor Program, connecting business leaders with Fresno State students. For the past 20 years, he has invested his leadership and financial support to the program.

Mr. Laval has served on the Fresno State Foundation Board of Governors since 1996, holding key leadership positions throughout his tenure. He served on the Lyles Center for lnnovation and Entrepreneurship Board and funds six interdisciplinary academic awards for scholarship, research and entrepreneurial pursuits. He is also a founding member of the Fresno State Pinnacle Society and is a President's Circle for Excellence annual contributor.

ln 2018, with an unwavering commitment to students and the community, Mr. Laval co-founded The Launchpad, providing coworking space, mentoring and business assistance to 22 start-ups. He continues to invest in entrepreneurial businesses through Laval Partners LLC. 

Mr. Laval has long been a respected pillar of the community, serving on a multitude of boards, and receiving prestigious recognition and awards in honor of his continued service and philanthropic giving. 

In recognition of his contributions to entrepreneurship and water technology, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Fresno are proud to confer upon Claude Laval III the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.