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Giving to SDSU >> Areas of Giving - Faculty >> Feature StoryPhoto of Ken Walsh

Endowing the Future

More than ocean breezes attracted Ken Walsh, Ph.D. to San Diego to head the new Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) Program at SDSU’s College of Engineering.

"There’s such a strong sense of community in San Diego," said Walsh. "Most people in San Diego embrace SDSU as ‘their’ university, and the building industry has embraced this program so strongly. I saw the value of being part of a program with such a close connection to the community."

Funding the Future

In the mid-90s, the San Diego chapter of Associated General Contractors (AGC) looked to SDSU regarding the industry’s need for managers with a solid engineering and business management education. The solution: SDSU’s Construction and Engineering Management program, to which AGC member companies raised funds to endow its director position.

To date they have raised more than $1.5 million through AGC member companies to launch the CEM program and endow its director, ensuring the recruitment of sought-after talent such as Walsh to develop and run the program. One AGC member, Roel Construction, made a leadership pledge of $500,000 to drive the program’s development into high gear.

"The building community of San Diego is always looking for young and talented people who want to pursue careers in construction and engineering," said Kevin Elliott, president of Roel Construction. "We relish the idea of finding homegrown San Diego-educated quality talent. Under the leadership of Dr. Walsh, we’re excited about the caliber of graduates SDSU will produce. It is also personally gratifying that SDSU, my alma mater, and Roel are partnering to satisfy the needs of our industry."

Attracting the Best and Brightest 

This engagement between SDSU and the community is what brought Walsh from the Del Web School of Construction Management at Arizona State University, currently the largest program in the U.S. "The construction industry is such a huge and vibrant part of San Diego, providing more than $3 billion annually to the local economy," Walsh said. "So many people are already aware of the program due to the enthusiasm of industry partners."

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