College of Agriculture


Jack Henning

A long-time partner of the University Farm Beef Unit, Jack Henning cared deeply about education and helping students succeed. Henning was born in San Francisco in 1923 and moved with his family to Chico at a young age. His father owned an almond orchard in Chico, where Jack’s lifelong connection to agriculture began. Jack attended Chico High School, where he became the editor of the school newspaper.

Jack attended Chico State College briefly before enlisting in the Navy during World War II, where he served as a pilot. Upon discharge, he returned to California and fulfilled his lifelong dream of attending Stanford University, where he majored in journalism. He graduated from Stanford in 1946, married his sweetheart Frances, and went to work for the San Francisco Examiner. After a few years, Jack decided that the newspaper industry was not his destiny, so he took a series of aptitude tests to determine what his next steps should be. All signs pointed toward sales.

In 1950, Jack followed his calling into an advertising sales job at Sunset Magazine in Menlo Park, where he ascended the ranks in advertising and management until he eventually became President of the magazine in 1982.

While his career kept the Henning family located in the bay area, Jack wanted to maintain his connection to Chico and to rural life. In 1959, Jack and Fran purchased a cattle ranch in the Big Chico Creek Canyon east of Chico, where they raised Red Angus cattle and quarter horses. Jack and Fran, together with their sons John and Bob, spent nearly every weekend for the next four decades on the Chico ranch.

In the early 1990’s, Jack visited the Chico State Farm to purchase a Red Angus bull. He met Dr. Dave Daley, and the two hit it off instantly. Together they developed a partnership in which Chico State agriculture students managed the Henning Ranch cattle for the better part of a decade. The partnership gave students, many of whom are with us this evening, hands-on experiences in running a working cattle ranch.

Even after his death in 2006, Henning continues to impact students’ lives. Henning bequeathed two major scholarship gifts to CSU, Chico, including one in the College of Agriculture and one in the Department of Journalism. His scholarship endowment in the College of Agriculture allows for a $2,000 annual scholarship to a student employee of the beef unit, or to a student who has been active in the beef industry.