Gifts That Uplift Students

The CSU provides transformational opportunities for students from all backgrounds to earn a high-quality college degree and to elevate their families, their communities and the industries in which they become leaders. We are the nation’s most powerful driver of social mobility. Donor contributions are essential to the CSU student experience and offer support along the road to graduation. For example, affinity centers foster and sustain a sense of belonging and representation, where our students can find resources for their unique and diverse needs. Philanthropic support also elevates students by offering paid graduate research opportunities, scholarships and enhanced instructional facilities and programs. These investments have proven to boost degree completion and student achievement.

Alumnus Gift Funds LGBTQ+ Resource Center

Since alumnus Michael T. Losquadro came out in 1983 while he was a California State University, Fullerton student, he has been a champion for the LGBTQ+ community. It is only fitting that Losquadro and his husband, Dr. Brian C. Keller, a Kaiser Permanente family physician, are now giving back to support his alma mater.

The Seal Beach couple, who has been together 30 years and married in 2008, pledged a $1.5 million planned gift to the university to benefit the LGBT Queer Resource Center and student scholarships in the College of Business and Economics.

Losquadro expressed gratitude for his outstanding education in the business and economics college and said he wants students to benefit from scholarships so they can focus on their academics and graduate from college.

“It is truly an honor for us to support the Titan queer community and allies,” Keller said. “By supporting the center, we hope the programming will build students’ confidence, laying a strong foundation for a successful future.”

A Legacy of Environmental Education Lives on

For more than four decades, Robert Gearheart has been dedicated to understanding wetland systems and sharing his wisdom and passion with students at California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt. The professor emeritus of environmental resources engineering and his wife, Mary, have ensured that this legacy of environmental education continues for future students by designating the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation as the beneficiary of an individual retirement account within their estate, valued at approximately $240,000. The generous gift will permanently endow the Gearheart Ecological Engineering Research Fund, which the Gearhearts established last year.

The fund supports research in nature-based technologies through paid graduate fellowships and undergraduate research assistantships. It also provides equipment and travel funding in support of faculty research.

“Mary and I want to provide students the opportunity to experience Humboldt’s amazing program,” Gearheart said. “We feel it’s crucial to support and advance the incredible teaching, learning and research happening at Humboldt.”

Endowment Creates Career Pathways for High School Students

The Banning High School Scholarship Fund was founded by alumnus Jim Morgan and James Callahan in 2003 to provide scholarships for students who participated in the Banning High School EXP program to attend California State University Maritime Academy. The program exposes Banning 11th graders to career pathways in the maritime field and enriches the academy’s public safety-focused curriculum. Students may attend a one-week experiential course each summer at Cal Maritime.

In 2023, a $100,000 grant from the non-endowed Banning High School Scholarship Fund was used to establish the Banning High School Scholarship Endowment. That endowment ensures the perpetuity of the scholarship funds for students from underserved communities within the Los Angeles Unified School District, including Banning High School, where 93% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

Since the program’s inception, more than 40 Banning High School EXP students have attended and graduated from Cal Maritime.

Alumni Help Prepare Students for Evolving Workplace

A $12.5 million philanthropic gift from alumni Ruth and David Singelyn will expand California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s graduate business programs. The Singelyns’ endowed gift names The Singelyn Graduate School of Business and will establish the first-ever graduate deanships at the university, recognize faculty excellence with endowed professorships and fellowships and fund scholarships, including supporting doctoral-track students from underrepresented groups to help further diversify the faculty.

Inspired to invest in the type of hands-on experience they received, the Singelyns want to prepare emerging professionals for the evolving workplace. Their gift will help to innovate and elevate the business school experience by promoting curricular innovations and offering life-changing, creative experiences in business education.

“As the first in my family to graduate from college, I’m thinking of the students who are going to be able to raise themselves beyond their socioeconomic status,” Ruth Singelyn says. “Nothing is more powerful or motivating than that journey.”

Uplifting an Entire Region

In recognition of a $10 million gift from philanthropist Ernest E. Tschannen, California State University, Sacramento will name its new engineering space the Ernest E. Tschannen Engineering Teaching and Research Building. The facility will include teaching and research labs, expandable and flexible classrooms, updated equipment to complement existing hardware and group and interdisciplinary workspaces.

“This project is beneficial to the whole area and, of course, to the students,” Tschannen said. “They’ll have a better life, good jobs and, thanks to the university, they can get a good education.”

This funding will help uplift the entire region, including supporting initiatives with community partners such as Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the California Mobility Center and the California Conservation Corps.

“By allowing us to utilize the space to advance and work alongside key leaders in green technology across the region, Sacramento State is better positioned to advance faculty and students in crucial STEM fields, most importantly first-generation and historically underrepresented students,” said Lisa Cardoza, then-vice president for University Advancement.

Gift Will Shape the Lives of Future Generations

In November 2022, Elly Pfau—​daughter of John M. Pfau, California State University, San Bernardino’s founding president—​generously made a $1 million bequest in memory of her father to two endowed funds at the university. Ninety percent of the gift will support the John M. Pfau Family Scholarship, which was established by Elly, along with her sister Madelaine and her husband Charles Jones, in 2002 to support the university’s students. Ten percent of the gift will fund the John M. Pfau Library Endowment.

This deferred gift to CSUSB made through a donor’s estate plan has allowed Elly and the Pfau family to create a lasting legacy while strengthening the university’s ability to shape the lives of future generations.

“I hope this gift allows those who are serious students to get a great education and start life in a good position to go forward,” Pfau said.

Grant Aims to Remove Barriers to Success

California State University San Marcos received a $350,000 grant funded by College Futures Foundation in partnership with the James Irvine Foundation to support seven CSU campuses in developing a plan to remove barriers for transfer students. CSU campuses joining San Marcos are Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills, East Bay, Los Angeles, Northridge and Pomona.

The program will focus on students who are underrepresented minorities, first-generation and eligible for Pell Grants—the community college students at the highest risk of not transferring and completing their four-year degrees. According to 2020 data from the Public Policy Institute of California, only 19% of California community college students who intend to transfer do so within four years, and 28% percent do within six years.

“We determined that our campuses would be more intentional and strategic by working together to better support first-generation, low-income and underserved students,” said Dawn M. Formo, dean of the Office of Undergraduate Studies. “The pathway that will result from this collaboration has the potential to become a systemwide, if not national, model.”

Alumnus Delivers on 56-year Promise

In 1967, Harry Edwards—now a San José State University alumnus, University of California Berkeley professor emeritus and renowned sports sociologist—cofounded the United Black Students for Action at San José State and organized a student boycott of the September football game against Texas Western University until the university responded to their demands.

Then-California Governor Ronald Reagan threatened to deploy the National Guard to ensure that the game was not disrupted, which, in turn, inspired a band of Hells Angels motorcyclists to join the charge while Black student groups across California rallied. To avoid potential violence, then-SJSU President Robert Clark canceled the game, which forced SJSU to pay $39,000 in forfeiture fees.

“I promised President Clark that I would pay every cent of that $39,000 back to San José State with interest, and that I’d do so consistent with our efforts to make the university more nondiscriminatory,” Edwards said. To date, the Spartan has donated and facilitated gifts that total more than $100,000. Edwards also established the Dr. Harry Edwards Collection Endowment that funds a showcase of historic memorabilia in the Dr. Harry Edwards Collection at the King Library on the San José State campus, as well as a 10-year commitment to sponsor a $1,000 Harry Edwards Social Activism Award for athlete-activists in SJSU’s Athletics Department.

He plans to make further contributions. Edwards sees his gifts to the library and athletics as a continuation of the promise he made with Clark years before.