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Leading the Way to $500 Million

Kit Sickels, a leader of SDSU’s fundraising efforts, says the campaign has changed public perceptions.
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Christopher “Kit” Sickels

Christopher “Kit” Sickels, ’60, is chair of The Campanile Foundation, the philanthropic foundation that oversees SDSU’s long-term strategy and institutional commitment to increase private funding.

He has played a leading role in the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, The Campaign for SDSU.

This month, with the campaign on target to reach $360 million of its $500 million goal, we asked Sickels to reflect on the Campanile Foundation’s accomplishments and his own commitment to SDSU.

Why is it important for you to be involved and to give back to SDSU?
Because I have the greatest respect and admiration for the faculty, staff and students at SDSU. They are outstanding. I’ve met some wonderful people through my work on The Campanile Foundation board.

What is your fondest memory from your student days at SDSU?
The football games were a high point; and when I was younger, from kindergarten through sixth grade, I attended the Campus Laboratory School. I have great memories of that experience.

Which initiatives have you supported during The Campaign for SDSU?

My wife, Karen, and I wanted to make an impact on each of SDSU’s colleges. We decided to support the library, which is used by more than 10,000 students every day. The Christopher D. and Karen Sickels Endowment for Special Collections in Children’s Literature benefits the entire campus and the San Diego community.

What campaign achievements are you most proud of?
I am very proud of the level of board involvement in The Campaign for SDSU. Since the Campanile Foundation was established, board members have given $81 million to support SDSU. In addition, many members have hosted or are planning to host fundraisers in their homes, including Jim Sinegal, Ed Blessing, Linda Lang, Terry Atkinson and Greg Fowler.

How has The Campaign for SDSU changed the public perception of the university?
The campaign has opened a lot of eyes in this community. People are beginning to appreciate the important research we do in sciences, engineering and public health. And the campaign is incredibly successful. We’ve raised nearly $360 million, including 59 gifts of $1 million or more.

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