“In naming our first academic college, we recognize that the Fowlers' legacy will benefit students, faculty and staff for generations to come.”
San Diego State University has announced the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the university. Local philanthropist and San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler and his wife, Alexis, have pledged a $25 million endowment gift to SDSU’s College of Business Administration that will provide scholarships and professorships, develop a lecture series, and provide international experiences and expanded programming for SDSU business students. The gift also pushes the university past the $750 million goal of The Campaign for SDSU.
In honor of their years of support for and commitment to the university and its students, the college has been renamed the Fowler College of Business Administration, marking the first time a college at SDSU has been named. Established as a matching gift, this endowment provides a challenge to the university and its supporters to raise an additional $25 million for the college. More than $2 million has been matched already.
“I think the business school needs a boost. And what does it need? It needs funds for scholarships. It needs money to help attract and retain quality faculty. And we’re doing it in the form of a challenge,” Fowler said.
Through the years, Alexis Fowler, a graduate of SDSU’s College of Business Administration, and Ron Fowler have contributed to such SDSU programs as entrepreneurship, hospitality and tourism management, student scholarships, alumni and athletics. The naming of the Fowler Athletics Center was a result of The Fowler Challenge, which inspired many others to support SDSU athletics, raising more than $10 million.
“I believe if we reach the numbers that I think we can reach in a relatively short time it will be a difference maker for the College of Business at San Diego State,” Fowler said. “And that’s what we want it to be. One of those events… a launching pad for greatness for the College of Business.”
Added SDSU President Elliot Hirshman: “Ron and Alexis' gift will transform our College of Business Administration. In naming our first academic college, we recognize that the Fowlers' legacy will benefit students, faculty and staff for generations to come. All of us at San Diego State are blessed to have the Fowlers' friendship, support and guidance.”
This endowed gift to the Fowler College of Business Administration will create a number of new opportunities for students, including The Fowler Scholars Program, which will provide scholarship and programmatic opportunities for students who have an interest in entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development. These experiences will include internships, entrepreneurial ventures, student research opportunities and international experiences.
The Fowler Professorships will be used to recruit faculty members who bring innovative perspectives to the college’s entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development programs.
The Fowler Lectureship Series will host the Fowler Fellow, a visiting faculty member who will spend a week on campus interacting with students and faculty in classroom and informal settings. The Fowler Fellow will present the annual Fowler Lecture to the campus community.
Additionally, the Fowler International Experience endowment will assist students interested in international business and comparative economic systems to participate in international internships and study.
“We are extremely grateful to Ron and Alexis Fowler, not only for their generosity but also for their ongoing support for the College of Business and this investment in our future,” said College of Business Administration Interim Dean George Belch. “This is truly a transformative gift that will help the college in recruiting outstanding faculty as well as providing scholarships and support for programs that will benefit our students. The Fowlers are true philanthropists whose support, dedication and involvement with San Diego State University and the community is appreciated by all.”
Combining his other passions with the College of Business Administration, this gift will also create an endowment for scholarship opportunities for student veterans and Guardian Scholars in the Fowler College of Business Administration.
“It’s about being able to help future generations stand on the shoulders of others,” Fowler said. “And then people can stand on their shoulders to create a better world.”
About The Campaign for SDSU
The Campaign for SDSU began in 2007 as an effort to generate philanthropic support for SDSU students, faculty, staff and programs. Fowler is the founding chair and chair emeritus of The Campanile Foundation, which is leading the campaign. The campaign has transformed the campus both physically and programmatically. More than 64,700 donors have contributed to The Campaign for SDSU, including 128 who have given $1 million or more. The campaign has now raised $753 million.