Campus: CSU, Northridge -- February 7, 2000

Largest Alumnus Gift In CSUN History Made By Abbott And Linda Brown

Abbott and Linda Brown have made a gift of $1.5 million to California State University, Northridge, the largest contribution made to date by an alumnus, according to Louanne Kennedy, interim president of CSUN. Linda Brown earned two degrees at the university.

The gift, awarded through their foundation-The Ridgestone Foundation--will be used to fund the Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy project at CSUN's Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled.

The Ridgestone Foundation's $1.5 million contribution plays a major role in "CSUN Rising," the first capital initiative campaign of the university. CSUN Rising signifies the end of the university's earthquake recovery period and its reemergence as one of the most modern, state-of-the-art campuses in the nation.

"Abbott and Linda Brown's gift comes at a crucial time in our CSUN Rising campaign," Kennedy said, "and we anticipate it will provide the additional momentum needed to reach or surpass our capital initiative goal."

Confirmation of the gift has triggered the release of an additional $1 million in appropriated federal funds for the Western Center, which is expected to enter the final design phase early in June, when construction will begin.

Founded and directed by Sam Britten, the Center of Achievement is recognized internationally for its success in rehabilitating people who have made little or no progress in other therapeutic programs. Britten's program has succeeded in giving hope and encouragement to those whose disabilities, disease or injury have caused them to lose optimism and the motivation to improve.

The services of the Center are directed by faculty members and assisted by university students who are training to become adapted physical education instructors, physical therapists, chiropractorrs or medical doctors. Originally designed to serve CSUN's large disabled student population, the Center has opened its door to all and has provided services to more than 6,000 community members since 1978.

The Ridgestone Foundation's contribution will permit the center to triple the number of people served and to shorten its nearly two to three-year waiting list. The center currently serves more than 600 people with disabilities each year.

The addition of three therapeutic pools included in the Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy will help meet the specialized rehabilitation needs of paraplegics and persons with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis or joint and soft tissue injuries. With the addition of the pools, the Center, for the first time in its history, will offer its services to children and adults unable to exercise in a conventionally weighted environment.

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