Donation from Robert Pasker and Laurie Pitman Will Benefit the University's History Department in Perpetuity
San Francisco State University has received the largest private individual gift in its history: a $2.4 million donation, announced today by President Robert A. Corrigan. The donors are Robert B. Pasker, an alumnus, and his wife, Laurie Pitman, founders of the high-technology firm WebLogic, Inc.
The announcement was made on the occasion of San Francisco State's 101st anniversary. March 22 is Founder's Day at SFSU.
Of the total gift, $1 million will establish the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Endowed Chair in History in honor of Pasker's parents. The endowment will allow SFSU's Department of History to attract a leading historian whose specialty is this nation's constitutional and legal history. Virtually all of the remaining $1.4 million will create an endowment where, in perpetuity, funds will be drawn in support of the history department. Some initial operations funds will be used for student scholarships, for equipping a state-of-the art high technology classroom, and for other pressing departmental needs.
Pasker, 39, worked as a technologist in the trading/finance industry in New York until 1989, when he moved to San Francisco. In 1990, he enrolled at SFSU as a full-time student in the history department's honors concentration program, from which he received a B.A. in history magna cum laude in 1993. Pasker went on to earn his master's degree in history from Brown University in 1994, after which Pasker and Pitman, also an historian, returned to the Bay Area and resumed professional careers in the high-tech industry. Pasker and Pitman were two of the four founders of WebLogic, the first independent Java company, which was acquired by BEA Systems in 1998.
As chief architect of WebLogic, Pasker brought to market WebLogic's market-leading Java application server.
"This is a proud day for San Francisco State University," said President Corrigan. "This magnificent gift results from one graduate's satisfaction with the education he received here-from the one-to-one interaction between a student and his teachers that constitutes the core of this University. I cannot think of a more meaningful way to honor someone's beloved parents. The University is deeply grateful."
In making the gift, Pasker said he believes very strongly in the mission of San Francisco State University and its history department. "The University is a model for diverse, urban public universities, and the department is committed to the highest levels of scholarship and education. The gift is a way to honor my parents, who were staunch supporters of public education; to challenge other alumni to continue to support one of the finest urban public universities in the nation; and to support the mission of the University and the Department," he said.
Added Jerald Combs, chair of the history department at SFSU: "The chair will add to the history department's stature and the range of courses we can offer." Combs noted that applications for the post have already come in from several of the country's top legal scholars. The donors allowed the department to specify the area in which to set up the chair, Combs said.
The Pasker-Pitman gift creates San Francisco State University's third endowed chair. The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility was created in 1997 with a $1 million gift from the San Francisco-based Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.
And the Y.F. Chang Chair in International Business was created last year as the result of a $2 million gift from Y.F. Chang, group chairman and founder of The Evergreen Group, parent company of the world's largest container ship operator, Evergreen Marine Corporation, of EVA Airways and numerous other affiliated businesses. Chairman Chang's gift provided for $1 million for the endowed chair, and a $1 million endowment for SFSU's Presidential Scholars Program.
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News