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The Campaign for SDSU

SDSU launches a historic $500 million fundraising campaign.
SDSU business management major Bob Payne, ’55, personifies the Aztec entrepreneurial spirit.
SDSU business management major Bob Payne, ’55, personifies the Aztec entrepreneurial spirit.

San Diego State University today announced a $500 million fundraising campaign to support its students and faculty and transform SDSU into a leading national research university.  

The Campaign for SDSU will leverage the university’s unique strengths and its synergy with the San Diego region in support of our students, our faculty, our staff and our community,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. “At a time when state support has been reduced, this effort is critically important to ensure SDSU can continue to provide a high-quality educational experience for the next generation of students.”

The Campaign for SDSU is the first university-wide fundraising campaign in SDSU history. It includes all of SDSU’s colleges, SDSU Athletics and KPBS. Hirshman said private funding is needed by the university to attract and retain top faculty, support innovative programs and assist talented students through scholarships, as well as move the university forward with strategic investments in people and programs.

SDSU is well on its way to its goal of raising $500 million,
but the most crucial stage of the campaign
is still ahead of us. 

Campaign goes public

Today’s announcement launches the “public phase” of what is expected to be a seven-year fundraising campaign. For the past four years, campus leaders have worked behind the scenes to secure large leadership gifts from the university’s top donors. To date, this effort has netted more than $270 million in gifts and pledges, setting university fundraising records along the way.  

“Thanks to the generosity of our closest alumni and friends, SDSU is well on its way to its goal of raising $500 million but the most crucial stage of the campaign is still ahead of us,” said Costco CEO and founder Jim Sinegal, ‘59.  

With the theme “Leadership Starts Here,” SDSU will be reaching out to the entire community with messages about the university’s important mission and how their support is essential to the university’s success.

logo - The Campaign for SDSUHirshman, who became SDSU’s eighth president in July, said there has never been a better time to re-engage SDSU’s 250,000-plus alumni — 60 percent of whom live in San Diego County.

Hirshman cites SDSU’s strong academic reputation, life-changing research, community engagement and athletic success as evidence of SDSU’s momentum. The Campaign for SDSU will propel the university forward by raising funds to support student scholarships, faculty endowments and academic programs, and secure San Diego State’s future as a university with significant regional, national and global impact.

Campaign goals

The Campaign for SDSU has four distinct initiatives aimed at enriching students’ lives and strengthening the economy of the San Diego region:

  • Engaging the Region: San Diego State produces the future leaders for critical local industries such as bio-tech, communications, hospitality and tourism, construction management and border studies. The university’s strong ties to the San Diego community are evident in its initiatives supporting K-12 education, student veterans and more. The Campaign for SDSU will support existing programs and create new initiatives that enhance San Diego’s reputation as a catalyst for innovation and discovery.
  • Leading Innovation and Discovery: The research productivity of SDSU faculty creates numerous opportunities for students to participate in life-changing projects on and off campus in areas such as cardiovascular research, vaccine development and sustainability. The Campaign for SDSU will seek support to create additional endowed chairs, thereby attracting leading scholars to enrich the academic life of the campus and enhance the value of an SDSU degree for alumni and current students.
  • Competing Globally: San Diego State University leverages its strategic location on the Pacific Rim and the border of Latin America to foster a highly diverse, globally focused culture of research and scholarship. The Campaign for SDSU will increase scholarship opportunities for students seeking to study abroad, build endowments to attract faculty with international expertise in multiple disciplines and strengthen programs that tap the potential of students to take their place in our global society.
  • Fueling Potential: In the last 20 years alone, SDSU has conferred more than 145,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. That’s 145,000 lives transformed by the power of an SDSU education. Gifts to the Fuel Potential Scholarship Campaign, part of The Campaign for SDSU, ensure that SDSU’s most deserving students have access to the transformational power of a college degree and create a healthy culture of philanthropy among the youngest Aztecs. More than $32 million has already been raised for the Fuel Potential Scholarship campaign. 

Major gifts 

Thus far, major gifts to The Campaign for SDSU include:

Charles Lamden$10 million to establish the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy. Read more Bob Payne$8.5 million endowment for the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management including $2.4 million from Bob Payne. Read more

Darlene and Donald Shiley$5 million to support the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center from Darlene Shiley. Read more

 Alexis and Ron Fowler$5 million from Ron and Alexis Fowler to support Athletics. Read more

Chuck and Robin Luby$4 million to support the SDSU Library from Chuck and Robin Luby. Read more

 Jim and Janet Sinegal$2.5 million for student scholarships from Jim and Janet Sinegal. Read more

Frank Cuenca$2 million from alumnus Frank Cuenca to support Athletics scholarships. Read more


 students talking$2 million from William Brack to support endowed scholarships.

College of Arts and Letters building$1.8 million gift from the estate of Bruce Porteous to support the College of Arts and Letters Joan and Art Barron$1 million naming gift to the SDSU Veterans Center from Joan and Art Barron. Read more


Since the university initiated the campaign in July 2007, SDSU has collected more than 33,000 gifts including 49 gifts of more than $1 million. 

Donors can give through one-time gifts of any amount, planned giving, annual giving or payroll deduction. All gifts to San Diego State University are accepted and administered by The Campanile Foundation (TCF), an official 501 [c] [3] auxiliary organization of San Diego State University.


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