Students working in the science lab

Academic Enrichment

From classrooms and laboratories to applications in the field and local communities, donor support enriches experiential learning for CSU students, providing them with unique opportunities to discover, build and transform their career and life trajectories.

In turn, California’s economy—in entertainment and the arts, technology, agriculture, hospitality, healthcare and more—benefits from graduates who represent diverse backgrounds and have the hands-on experience that promotes agility, innovation and ongoing improvement in their chosen fields.

A New Engineering Program Gets Local Support

Carlsbad-based global communications company Viasat, together with several employees of the company, invested $1.5 million to become the founding partner of the new engineering program at California State University San Marcos. The gift will support the future Viasat Engineering Pavilion and the development of signature engineering programs to address critical workplace needs.

Other local support comes from San Marcos-based Hunter Industries, which made a $100,000 gift to fund a design lab that will be a hub of collaboration and innovation.

Gift From Librarian Emerita Will Modernize HSU's Special Collections

With a significant gift from librarian emerita Joan Berman, the Humboldt State University Library is being transformed and modernized. Berman worked in the library for 42 years, including 17 years spent as the librarian of the Special Collections, a rich archive of rare and historic materials. Berman’s gift will help facilitate the renovation of the Special Collections area, which will feature a lab space that combines primary-source research with digital technologies.

A Gift Addresses the Doctor Shortage In California's Central Valley

Legacy Health Endowment, in partnership with Livingston Community Health, has announced a $1.6 million gift to California State University, Stanislaus to establish a family nurse practitioner master’s degree program. Twenty-four students are already enrolled in the program, with future classes enrolling up to 30 students. The program will help alleviate the shortage of primary-care physicians in the Central Valley.

Wine Spectator Learning Center Takes International Stage

With the grand opening of its Wine Spectator Learning Center, Sonoma State University is claiming a leadership role in supporting the success of the wine industry and training students from around the world who seek careers in the field. Donors invested $11 million in Sonoma State’s vision to be the global leader in wine business education and research.

The center is the heart of Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute and includes three advanced technology classrooms, a student commons, café and garden areas, and collaborative spaces for faculty and business leaders.

“This customized learning environment creates a home for us to execute on our mission to be the educational nucleus of the global wine industry,” Ray Johnson, executive director of the institute, says. “By bringing together business and community stakeholders, we expect this new facility will enable even more innovation, more advanced public policies, and better-trained leaders for a changing industry.”

A Musical Bequest to SFSU Dates Back to the 1600s

In 1963, Frank V. de Bellis donated his personal library and vintage record collection of Italian classics to San Francisco State University. For the next two decades, his wife Serena de Bellis, a musician and musical librarian, curated the librarymuseum of Italian culture. When she passed away in 2017, she bequeathed $2 million to the collection, which includes over 1,400 opera librettos dating back to 1600, other unique musical manuscripts and a small selection of notable musical instruments.

Local Philanthropist Funds a New Science Center at Sacramento State

Sacramento State will honor the philanthropist who made the largest single gift in the university’s 71-year history by adding his name to a building now under construction. The Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, the first donor-named academic building on campus, recognizes the $9 million donation Ernest Tschannen publicly announced on his 93rd birthday.

A native of Switzerland, the successful real estate investor has lived in the Sacramento area since the 1950s and regularly walks along the American River, which will be a stone’s throw from his namesake complex. Opening for classes in fall 2019, it will eventually include a planetarium and rooftop observatory.

With Multiple Donations, CSUSM Earns a Tuneful Distinction

With a growing inventory of Steinway pianos, California State University San Marcos has become an All-Steinway School, a prestigious designation held by fewer than 200 colleges, universities and conservatories worldwide. CSUSM’s Steinway piano purchases were made possible by the Hunter Family Advised Fund at the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation; the David T. and Dorris E. Staples Foundation; the Epstein Family Foundation; Carolyn Funds; Carol Lazier and Jay Merritt; and the support of other generous donors who wish to remain anonymous.

Archives at Sacramento State is the Legacy of a Former President

Sacramento State’s newly named Donald and Beverly Gerth Special Collections and University Archives are being modernized, digitally cataloged and made more accessible to students, faculty, staff and the public thanks to a $300,000 gift from Donald Gerth, the university’s former president (1984 to 2003), and his wife, Beverly. “Libraries have been important to Bev and me all of our lives, and they’re certainly central to the work of a university, so it’s easy to support them,” Gerth says.

An Energizing Gift for an Innovation Center

The proposed Energy & Engineering Innovation Center at California State University, Bakersfield has gotten a big boost, with a $500,000 commitment from Angelo Mazzei. A Fresno State graduate and longtime CSUB supporter, Mazzei, founder and chairman of the Bakersfield-based Mazzei Injector Corporation, says the need for qualified engineers in the local workforce motivated him and his family to support the construction of the center with their lead gift.

The Energy & Engineering Innovation Center will be a 53,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility housing teaching and research labs, a 240-seat auditorium and an event space accessible to the entire university.

Paintings by Joan Baez Donated to Sonoma State

A collection of 14 portraits painted by singer and activist Joan Baez and inspired by a diverse group of architects of social change has been donated by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria to Sonoma State University in commemoration of the university’s commitment to social justice.

The portraits include civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis, Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, author Maya Angelou, singer and activist Harry Belafonte and other well-known figures.

The Collins College Becomes the Country's Premier Hospitality Management College

Carol and Jim Collins made a $10 million leadership gift, the largest single donation ever to The Collins College of Hospitality Management, to establish the Carol and James A. Collins Excellence Endowment.

The gift will provide scholarships and internship opportunities for academically talented, historically underrepresented hospitality management students who would otherwise have little chance to pursue higher education. It will also support a first-class leadership and management education by investing in resources for faculty, enabling them to continue to be steeped in cutting-edge industry trends.

As the millennial generation assumes greater leadership in the hospitality industry, the customer experience will evolve. On-demand smart technology, sustainable practices, contemporary design and locally inspired ambiance will become expected elements of a hospitality experience, making innovation a top priority. The Collins endowment will fund innovative initiatives and programs for students to thrive in a world-class, industry-standard environment, giving them a crucial edge as they prepare for careers in a highly competitive field.

Oppenheimer Family Gift Transforms College of Agriculture

In recognition of a $20 million gift made by Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo has named a massive project the Oppenheimer Family Riding Pavilion, Stallion Barn and Foaling Barn. The gift will fully fund and transform facilities throughout the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, and include new barns, riding facilities, pavilions and support facilities.

Peter and Mary Beth are both alumni of the college. Peter, who retired as chief financial officer of Apple in 2014, received an honorary doctorate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.