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A $25 million gift from Ron and Alexis Fowler put SDSU over the top in its first comprehensive fundraising campaign. (Photo: Lauren Radack) A $25 million gift from Ron and Alexis Fowler put SDSU over the top in its first comprehensive fundraising campaign. (Photo: Lauren Radack)
 


A Highlight of 2016: Reaching the Campaign Goal

The Campaign for SDSU surpassed its goal of raising $750 million.
By Coleen L. Geraghty
 

“This is a remarkable achievement for the university, and it strengthens our efforts to become a top 50 national public university.”

2016 was the year it happened: The Campaign for SDSU attained its goal of raising $750 million.

On Oct. 26, a challenge gift of $25 million from Ron and Alexis Fowler put San Diego State University over the top in its first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Reaching the goal is satisfying, but even more so is the groundswell of support from alumni, friends and the campus community that made the campaign a success.

More than 47,000 new donors, including 7,500 students and recent graduates, gave in support of scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, research, student success activities, athletics, academic programming, the Weber Honors College, alumni activities and more.

“We are grateful to all the alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students who supported The Campaign for SDSU,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president for University Relations and Development. “This is a remarkable achievement for the university, and it strengthens our efforts to become a top 50 national public university.”

The Campaign for SDSU began in 2007 as an effort to generate philanthropic support for SDSU students, faculty, staff and programs. It has transformed the campus both physically and programmatically. Nearly 68,000 donors in total have contributed to the campaign, including 129 gifts of $1 million or more.

The Fowlers’ gift was the largest of the campaign. Fowler is the founding chair and chair emeritus of the Campanile Foundation, which has led The Campaign for SDSU. He and his wife have made large gifts to several SDSU programs and projects, including entrepreneurship, athletics and alumni engagement.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman said the university will continue to need donor support even as The Campaign for SDSU concludes.

"While The Campaign for SDSU has surpassed its goals, philanthropic support and the building of a culture of philanthropy remain essential,” he said. “Moving forward, philanthropic support for endowed scholarships, endowed professorships and academic facilities, such as our Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, will be critical to the university's excellence."

Other philanthropic highlights of 2016 include:
  • The opening of the Clay Gateway, a formal campus entrance named for SDSU alumni and long-time supporters Nikki and Ben Clay.
  • The renovation of a campus landmark, Scripps Cottage, with support from Bill Scripps and SDSU’s Associated Students.
  • The growth of regional councils, which unite alumni and friends in Aztec-concentrated areas around the country in activities that support the university and SDSU students.
  • The expansion of Aztec Proud, a program operated by the Office of Alumni Engagement to promote student philanthropy.
  • Increased support for the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences (EIS) Complex, an 85,000-square-foot space for collaborative, interdisciplinary research and entrepreneurship.
  • The Great Give, a 24-hour online event that took place on Oct. 25 and raised nearly $140,000 from more than 700 individual gifts.