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Thursday, June 1, 2023

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Each graduating donor will receive a special cord to wear during Commencement. Each graduating donor will receive a special cord to wear during Commencement.

Class of 2015 Leaves a Lasting Legacy

SDSU’s graduating class has raised nearly $25,000 for scholarships to benefit future Aztecs.
By Beth Downing Chee

It’s a long-standing tradition at universities that the graduating class gives a gift to the campus — a physical reminder that they were there. The San Diego State University class of 2015 is doing things a little differently.

Instead of a fountain, picnic bench or sculpture commemorating their time at SDSU, this year’s graduating class is leaving a legacy through philanthropy, having raised nearly $25,000 for scholarships that will benefit Aztecs in the years to come.

It’s all part of the Leave Your Legacy Campaign, which kicked off at SDSU’s Grad Fest in March, encouraging students to donate at least $10 toward student scholarships. To date, nearly 1,400 students from both the main SDSU campus and SDSU-Imperial Valley Campus have given to the campaign.  The SDSU Bookstore also gave a matching donation of $10,000.

“Ten dollars may not seem like much, but when combined with gifts from hundreds of others, it can really make a difference,” said Tammy Blackburn, director of Alumni Engagement, which spearheaded the Leave Your Legacy Campaign. “We want to help students understand the importance of philanthropy so they continue to give for years to come.”

Students who gave to the Leave Your Legacy Campaign will stand out among their peers during commencement. They will wear a distinct student donor cord with their graduation regalia — a red and white cord with a double twist. They will also be asked to stand to be acknowledged during the ceremonies.

“Being awarded several scholarships from SDSU made me feel eternally grateful for the community who make donations,” said Melissa Peraza, an SDSU-Imperial Valley student who is graduating with a degree in applied arts and science.  “It’s rewarding to know that I am able to provide some assistance to a future Aztec. I feel proud to be able to give to tomorrow’s leaders.”

Patrick Soliven, who is graduating with a degree in microbiology, also gave to the Leave Your Legacy Campaign. “I came from a neighborhood where we grew up and didn't know a lot about opportunity and I knew a lot of talented people who just didn't have the resources to come to a good institution. I just want to make sure that that opportunity is easier for somebody,” he said.

“Giving back inspires giving back. Several of our Class of 2015 students shared with me that they were recipients of generous donations made by alumni and friends,” said Blackburn. “Our students are more than just recipients of those donors' generosity. They are donors themselves and I am so proud of our Class of 2015 and the impressive legacy they are leaving. I have no doubt that future graduates will keep this unprecedented giving tradition alive.”