The Clay Gateway at Montezuma Road and Campanile Drive is named for Nikki
(’67, ’72) and Ben Clay
('69), whose contributions of time and treasure have strengthened the university over many decades.
“The idea of having a place of arrival has been a long time coming,” Ben Clay said.
The Clays met at SDSU. They were public administration majors and lived in sorority/fraternity houses on Montezuma Road, within walking distance of where the Clay Gateway now stands.
Both were members of Associated Students
, and Ben was involved in financing the construction of the first Aztec Student Center, which became the first student union in the California State University system.
Nikki worked to organize and grow the SDSU Alumni Association and was an early member of the Campanile Foundation
, the philanthropic foundation created in 1999 to manage SDSU’s then-nascent fundraising efforts.
Building an alumni center was one of SDSU’s earliest fundraising initiatives. President Emeritus Stephen Weber
asked the Clays to tour Ohio State University, which at the time had recently built an alumni “home” on campus. They returned to San Diego with a vision and became not only donors, but also fundraisers for the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center
“There is real meaning in giving to San Diego State,” Nikki Clay said. “It's the engine that runs San Diego.”
The Clays continue to support SDSU by providing scholarships for students in the School of Public Administration and fundraising for the Thomas B. Day Quad, part of the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex currently under construction on campus.
The Clays also established the Ben and Nikki Clay Presidential Scholarship, a $300,000 endowment to support high-achieving students, an increasing percentage of SDSU’s student population.
“The naming of the Clay Gateway recognizes Nikki’s and Ben’s many contributions to SDSU,” said Tom McCarron
, vice president for Business and Financial Affairs. “Fittingly, the words on its pillars define the campus as a destination for students who aspire to follow in the Clays’ footsteps: ‘Through these gates will pass our future leaders.’”The Campaign for SDSU began in 2007 as an effort to generate philanthropic support for SDSU students, faculty, staff and programs. More than 165,000 donors have contributed to The Campaign for SDSU, including 126 who have given $1 million or more.
San Diego State University has unveiled a formal campus entrance that will further enhance SDSU’s unique architectural beauty.