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Monday, May 29, 2023

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120 Years of SDSU Philanthropy

Aztec families carry on a tradition of support for the university that supported them.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

“Three generations of our family have gone to SDSU and we all had life-changing experiences.”

This year, San Diego State University celebrates the 120th anniversary of its founding as a teacher training school. Now a top public research university, SDSU is an economic driver of San Diego, a source of the region's workforce and a community of faculty, staff and students committed to serving the city.

Among the 74,135 donors who brought The Campaign for SDSU to a successful close, many are part of Aztec families. They claim two—or even three—generations of family members who support San Diego State University.

The Flamings are a prime example. Art Flaming (’60) made his first gift to SDSU a few years after graduation and has contributed steadily since then. A 2003 gift from him and his wife, Gwen, helped SDSU complete the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. Currently, the Flamings, their sons, daughter, daughters-in-law and grandchildren are supporters of Aztec Athletics.

“Three generations of our family have gone to SDSU and we all had life-changing experiences,” said Art Flaming. “Our education was a springboard for success. When our sons and daughter and grandchildren attended, they reaped the benefits of a more diverse and academically rigorous SDSU. The common thread is our Aztec Pride.”

A long association

The Lipinsky name is familiar to Aztecs in its association with the clock tower above the SDSU Student Services Building. Bernard and Dorris Lipinsky supported SDSU from 1982 until Bernard’s death in 2001 with giving to scholarships, a Jewish Studies initiative, the SDSU Library and the Thomas B. Day Freshman Success Program, which they endowed.
Bernard’s children and grandchildren have continued the family legacy. Jeffrey (’66) and Sheila (’72) Lipinsky support scholarships, the master of fine arts program in design and technology and the School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Before her death, Elaine was a strong backer of musical theatre and the Lipinsky Visiting Artist in Residence, a program her daughters continue to support.
Speaking at a donor luncheon earlier this year, Sheila explained the significance of the Lipinskys’ commitment to SDSU. “We’re continuing a family legacy and it brings us joy to know that we are making a difference in someone’s life.”

Like father, like daughter

Faculty and staff create traditions of support that are perpetuated by their families. James Crouch, who taught at SDSU from 1932 to 1973 and served as dean of Life Sciences, left most of his estate to SDSU to endow scholarships in the College of Sciences. He and his wife, Mary, also donated to the sundial in the Mediterranean Garden. Daughter Jeanette Rigopoulos ('57) carries on that giving culture. With fellow members of Friends of Classics, she is working to endow a post-doctoral position in digital classics and humanities.
“My father would be pleased,” Rigopoulos said. “He believed, as I do, that universities should encourage students to understand the relevance of the classical world to our modern society.”

In the community

The Price family also has a long association with SDSU. Sol Price attended San Diego State College in the 1930s. Decades later, SDSU and the Price Family Charitable Fund formed the public-private City Heights partnership through which Aztec faculty and students participate in the operation of three neighborhood schools in conjunction with the San Diego Unified School District and the association representing district teachers.

The most recent Price Charities initiatives, created by Sol’s son, Robert, and Robert’s wife, Allison (’74) include the College Avenue Compact, guaranteeing SDSU admission to graduates of Hoover High School who meet prescribed scholastic standards; and the Price Community Scholars Program, providing four-year scholarships to 15 diverse SDSU students from San Diego inner city communities who agree to mentor City Heights middle school students for a total of four years. Sol’s son, Larry, and his wife, Gigie (’99) also support SDSU as lead donors to the International Student Center.

And many more

There are dozens of Aztecs families whose support has advanced SDSU’s educational mission. The Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy and the Zahn Innovation Platform have been endowed by two generations of giving. The Goodall family members are multi-generational supporters of athletics, and the Payne family has given to athletics and the arts and endowed the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

In gratitude for their ongoing support, many of these donors will be recognized on The Campaign for SDSU donor wall to be dedicated in November.