Richard Seiler has always been proud of his association with San Diego State University’s College of Business Administration, recently renamed the Fowler College of Business.
As an undergraduate, he majored in accounting, recognizing it as a well-respected academic program. Although Seiler’s career eventually took him in a different direction, he values the lessons he learned and the professors who mentored him as an accounting major. A recent gift to SDSU from Seiler, (’78), and his wife, Susan, (’79), could be seen, in part, as a tribute to one of Seiler’s professors: Charles Lamden, namesake of SDSU’s Charles Lamden School of Accountancy. The Richard and Susan Seiler Endowed Faculty Fellow in Taxation will support a faculty member within the school.
“Having the right professors in place allows the college to offer curriculum that will benefit the greatest number of students,” Seiler said. “We also believe in giving to scholarships, but right now, the need is for a professor in this field.”
The Seilers met at SDSU in the 1970s. Susan, who majored in fashion merchandising in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, became a buyer for Macy’s after graduation. Richard is a certified financial planner and wealth management advisor in the Bay Area.
A greater impact
One of their many gifts to SDSU over the years helped to build the Page Pavilion in the Fowler College of Business. Recently, they decided to make a larger endowed gift to SDSU after Susan joined a philanthropic organization whose beneficiary is the College Bound Program, a charity that raises money to help students attend and graduate from college.
“We attended an event at which those students talked about being the first in their family to go to college and described how happy they were to have the opportunity,” Richard Seiler said. “That got us thinking about making a greater impact on helping to create educational opportunities. Increasing our giving to San Diego State was the logical answer. And then I got a call about joining the Bay Area Regional Council.”
The organization is one of seven regional councils comprised of loyal SDSU alumni and friends. Members donate to SDSU each year, provide internships for students, mentor students and young alumni, help locate “lost” Aztecs and strengthen the Aztec presence in their region.
“We appreciate the Seilers’ deep commitment to SDSU through their gifts of time and treasure,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president of University Relations and Development. “Endowments that support new and existing faculty positions are crucial to the advancement of our university.”
More student engagement
Both Seilers are impressed with changes to the campus since they graduated. Apart from the physical transformation, there’s an atmosphere of student engagement that was less pronounced decades ago, Seiler said. Today’s high achieving SDSU students are clearly committed to making their mark in the classroom, on campus and in the community.
The Seilers also appreciate the opportunities for interaction between alumni and current students, particularly through the regional councils.
“I think it’s important to increase the level of involvement across the country,” Richard Seiler said. “With the success of the campaign, SDSU has achieved a new level of respect and visibility, not only locally but also on a national scale. People are really engaged, and it makes the university more competitive. Making a gift is really an investment in the future of our country, our communities and ourselves.”
This gift will help meet Ron and Alexis Fowler’s challenge to match the $25 million they gave last October to SDSU’s Fowler College of Business. The Campaign for SDSU began in 2007 as an effort to generate philanthropic support for SDSU students, faculty, staff and programs. More than 67,000 donors have contributed to help SDSU surpass its campaign goal of $750 million.