Campus: CSU Northridge -- February 10, 2003

$1 Million Wells Fargo Gift Supports Education, Business at CSUN

California State University, Northridge President Jolene Koester announced today the university has received a $1 million gift from Wells Fargo—one of the banking giant’s largest such awards in the Los Angeles area—to help prepare future teachers and aspiring business leaders.

The gift will fund a university endowment that will permanently support special Wells Fargo scholarships for Cal State Northridge students studying to be teachers and also help expand the university’s small business center. In recognition of the gift, Koester said she will ask that the center be renamed the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

“Wells Fargo is a major presence in the San Fernando Valley region that we serve here at Cal State Northridge. By supporting excellence in education, Wells Fargo is assisting students who will be the teachers and business leaders of tomorrow, as well as helping the university expand its services to small businesses in this region,” Koester said.

“Our commitment at Wells Fargo is to support organizations that make significant contributions to the quality of life in our communities and to the lives of the people who live there,’’ said Shelley Freeman, regional president for Wells Fargo’s retail banking operations in the Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara county areas of Southern California.

Freeman added, “CSUN provides high-quality educational opportunities to young people who will be our future leaders and who will influence the quality of life in our communities. Many of them have joined Wells Fargo and made substantial contributions to our success as a company. That is why we are so pleased to provide support for the business and educational programs at Cal State Northridge, since doing so will help ensure the well-being of our communities for years to come.”

The $1 million Wells Fargo gift will be shared equally between the university’s Michael D. Eisner College of Education, which is recognized as one of the nation’s top teacher preparation programs, and the university’s College of Business and Economics, which operates one of the nation’s largest undergraduate business programs with more than 6,000 students.

The gift is the latest in a series by Wells Fargo in support of Cal State Northridge. The company already is an ongoing supporter of the university’s athletic program, having sponsored the “Wells Fargo Court” in The Matadome, CSUN’s basketball and volleyball venue. The company also has been a prior financial sponsor of the university’s small business center.

Wells Fargo officials said the $1 million gift is the company’s largest to any nonprofit or community group in the San Fernando Valley, and its largest to any university in the region.
With the income from the endowment, Cal State Northridge plans to award Wells Fargo scholarships to incoming freshmen and transfer students who enroll in special new teacher education programs at the university that allow students to earn both their bachelor’s degree and teaching credential in about the same time as a regular degree.

The education college at Cal State Northridge already prepares more students to earn teaching credentials than any other public university in California. The university also was one of only four U.S. institutions chosen recently by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to receive funding to help design model teacher preparation programs for the nation.

“Wells Fargo has a strong history of supporting local schools in our community,” said Philip Rusche, dean of CSUN’s Michael D. Eisner College of Education. “We know that the key factor to better student achievement in the classroom is the quality of the teacher. Through this gift, Wells Fargo is taking a leadership role by investing in high-quality future teachers for our schools.”

In the business college, the Wells Fargo gift will support the university’s Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which has operated for more than 25 years training students and providing services to small business owners in the region. Through that work, students get hands-on experience preparing for careers as entrepreneurs, small business owners and consultants.

President Koester’s request that the center be renamed the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship will be considered by the Board of Trustees of the 23-campus California State University system at its March 11-12 meeting in Fullerton.

“If you go into any Wells Fargo branch in the San Fernando Valley, odds are you will find Cal State Northridge graduates and students working there,” said Michael Fronmueller, dean of CSUN’s College of Business and Economics. “Our college is committed to providing a highly educated workforce for the banking and financial services industries.”

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified financial services company with 134,000 employees and $349 billion in assets. Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance services from more than 5,600 branches in the U.S. and abroad, and via the Internet at The company operates 223 branches in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, including 28 in the San Fernando Valley.

CSUN: John Chandler, (818) 677-5674,
Wells Fargo: Mary Trigg, (213) 253-7198,

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