Campus: CSU Northridge -- September 24, 2004

Alumni Donate $75,000 to Support CSUN's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

Cal State Northridge alumni Wayne and Roberta Colmer, owners of Calabasas-based Colmer Construction, have donated $75,000 to support the university's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.

Each year, more than 200 Northridge business students go through intensive training so that they can provide free tax preparation assistance to hundreds of low-income individuals and families through the VITA program. At the same time, the students gain valuable work experience and university course credit.

"The Colmers' generous contribution provides much needed support for a program that is important to both the college and the community," said Fred Evans, dean of Northridge's College of Business and Economics. The Colmers, longtime supporters of the university, said they wanted to see the program continue.

"We received an excellent education at CSUN and feel it is partially responsible for our success," Wayne Colmer said.

His wife, Roberta, added, "(Our gift) is a great way of thanking the university and the community for our education and financial success."

The Colmers have been active alumni since their graduation in the 1970s, having served on several advisory boards within the College of Business and Economics. Roberta Colmer currently sits on both the Dean's Council of Business Advisors and the advisory board for CSUN's Center for Real Estate. In 2001, Roberta Colmer received the Alumni Leadership Award from the college.

Each year, CSUN's VITA program provides tax preparation assistance to more than 600 low-income individuals and families throughout the San Fernando Valley and portions of greater Los Angeles. The program also provides timely and relevant federal and state information to the community concerning taxpayers' rights and responsibilities.

"I am thrilled with the Colmers' donation," said Donna Watkins, VITA's administrative supervisor. "Their generosity provides continued support to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which benefits the public, our students and the university."

Wayne Colmer holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Cal State Northridge and an MBA from the University of Southern California. Roberta Colmer holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Northridge. She also earned a teaching credential in secondary and post-secondary education from the university.

Colmer Construction develops and builds high-quality housing for families in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1988, they have provided hundreds of families with well-crafted, distinctly designed homes. The company specializes in the development of new home communities where development approvals are often difficult to obtain. The Colmers are currently planning communities in Santa Paula, Chatsworth, Morro Bay and Templeton.

Cal State Northridge's College of Business and Economics is the 10th largest undergraduate business college in the nation. It is home to several nationally recognized programs that enable students to get valuable hands-on experience while working alongside faculty members and business professionals. In addition to VITA, the college's acclaimed programs include the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, in which students provide free counseling to small businesses. The college also is home to the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center, where students work with faculty to collect, analyze and disseminate economic, social and demographic data of particular interest to the San Fernando Valley.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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