Student Success

As the nation’s largest and most diverse four-year public higher education system, the California State University provides exceptional academic opportunities for students of all backgrounds. This mission is fueled by the university’s transformative Graduation Initiative 2025, which continues to chart innovative approaches to advancing student success while working to close equity gaps. Donors are critical strategic partners. Their investments have proven to benefit degree completion and student achievement. Donor-funded projects help address the well-being and engagement of all CSU students while fostering a strong sense of belonging and academic purpose that positively impacts learning.

Fueling a Passion for Research

SoCal Gas donated $10,000 to fund the CSU STEM-NET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) Student Research Fellowship Program. Fellowships are administered by STEM-NET, a collaboration among all the 23 CSUs in areas of STEM research and education. Undergraduate students majoring in STEM disciplines will be provided funds to work collaboratively with CSU STEM faculty members on research projects throughout the academic year.

“I’m so thankful for the SoCal Gas Research Fellowship,” said Justin Self, a third-year student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He was one of three students awarded $2,500 to conduct undergraduate research in summer 2022. “It provided me with the opportunity to cut back hours at work and focus on my project.”

Supporting students in research inspires them to pursue in-demand careers in STEM and motivate them to succeed and enter the workforce, powering the future of California.

Annual Scholarhsip Acounts for Increase in Workforce Experience

Thanks to accounting firm Hayashi Wayland’s eight-week internship program, rising fourth-year students at California State University, Monterey Bay are getting valued experience in keeping the books. Each year, a student in need of financial support receives a scholarship that was endowed in memory of one of the firm’s partners, Sunny Wong, who passed away in 2010.

Hayashi Wayland also sponsors several campus events that bring together students, faculty and the local business community. The annual Accounting Mixer draws recruiters from several firms onto campus and is often the first point of contact between students and the firms. CSU Monterey Bay graduates comprise nearly one-third of Hayashi Wayland’s workforce.

“Over the last 10 years, many people have come in the door from CSUMB and are working their way up,” said Sean Capistrano, an alumnus and former intern who’s now one of the firm’s audit managers. “These folks will stay and will be part of the continuing legacy of Hayashi Wayland.”

Equity Innovation Hub Creates Educational Pathways for Latinx​ STEM Students

In partnership with the State of California and Apple, the CSU is establishing a Global Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Equity Innovation Hub, housed on the California State University, Northridge campus. The facility will be made possible through a special allocation in the 2021-22 California state budget and a donation from Apple.

The hub will transform HSIs throughout the CSU and nation to increase student success and equip Latinx and other historically underserved students with the skills they need to thrive in high-demand STEM careers.

“By reframing serving through an equity and racial justice lens, the Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub seeks to exponentially accelerate educational equity across the CSU system and the nation,” said CSUN President Erika D. Beck. “We aim to shift the conversation away from what students must do to be successful to what our institutions must do to successfully serve our Latinx and other diverse students.”

Brewing up Support for Social Mobility

Steve Wagner, co-founder of Stone Brewing, and his wife, Laura, donated $1 million to California State University San Marcos to establish a social mobility fund. It will provide foundational funding to improve college access and student success through student affairs initiatives, college faculty mentorship programs and community outreach.

“We are so impressed with the growth of CSUSM and what it has accomplished over the years, and we wanted to help,” the Wagners said. “One of the best ways to solve the inequity or inequality in our society is to help people who may not normally have access to a college education to be able to get there and succeed. And it’s not just success for them, it’s success for their families and, in CSUSM’s case, with 80 percent of graduates staying in the area, it’s success for our region and companies like ours.”

Bridging the Gap for First-Time Students

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria gave $425,000 to Sonoma State University to fund the campus’s 2022 Summer Bridge Program, which creates a smooth and supportive college transition for SSU’s most educationally vulnerable first-time, first-year students.

The funding will help bring to life a new hybrid four-week program with an additional eight-day residential experience. Moreover, the grant that each Summer Bridge participant receives to help purchase books and instructional supplies will quadruple in size.

“Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria have supported the Summer Bridge program since 2017 because we believe in giving all students a chance at college success,” said Greg Sarris, chairman of Graton Rancheria and SSU distinguished chair emeritus and professor. “I know firsthand how Summer Bridge can help low-income and first-generation students.”

Arboretum Friends Invest in Internship Program

Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum President Fran Colwell donated $25,000 to the arboretum at California State University, Fullerton in support of the facility’s new Engaging Environmental Experiences (E3) program. The E3 internship program allows students to develop their leadership skills and engagement with real-world environmental projects. “We hope this gift is framed not only as an investment in the success of Cal State Fullerton students,​ but also as an encouragement to others who might be interested in helping to achieve that goal,” he said.

The Friends of the Arboretum also secured a $75,000 endowment from the estate of Dwight Odle, who passed away in 2018. Odle taught classes at Cal State Fullerton and played a major role in many art programs throughout Southern California, contributing his own design talents to projects around the world.