William (Bill) Vere Cruess was a pioneer in the use of fruits to produce fruit-juice beverages, fruit-based concentrates and syrups. He was one of the first investigators in the United States to use freezing storage for preservation of fruits and fruit products.

During his years at UC Berkeley, Cruess co-founded the field of Food Science, established the technology of fruit dehydration, and came up with the mix that brought the "fruit cocktail" into homes and restaurants everywhere. In addition to inventing fruit cocktail, he introduced the Spanish olive to food processing and was responsible for apricot nectar. He was present at one of the first judgings of California wines about 1936, and World War II found him perfecting food packaging for the army. The UC Berkeley food science department which also developed prune juice was latered transferred to the Davis campus during WWII.

Cruess Hall was dedicated to William V. Cruess in March 1960. Cruess died at age 82 in 1968.