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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Terry Atkinson: Investing in SDSU

Former member of The Campanile Foundation Board of Directors Terry Atkinson (’70) is making a $1 million gift to create an endowed professorship and support SDSU Mission Valley.
By Tobin Vaughn

For almost 30 years, Terry Atkinson (’70) worked for Wall Street firms in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. He knows a good investment when he sees one.

Atkinson recently made a $1 million gift, $500,000 to establish the Terry Atkinson Endowed Professorship in Finance, and the other half for the new Aztec Stadium  in San Diego State University’s planned Mission Valley expansion.  He considers the donation to be a sound investment in SDSU.

“I couldn’t be happier making this contribution,” Atkinson said. “This is an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often.”

A member of The Campanile Foundation Board of Directors, Atkinson has made many investments in SDSU through the years. He said he directs his philanthropy toward things he believes in — and he believes in SDSU.

Nothing but upside

The half of Atkinson’s gift going to the Fowler College of Business qualifies as a match gift for the $25 million gift San Diego businessman Ron Fowler and his wife, Alexis, pledged when the college was named for him in 2016. The gift was the largest in the university’s history.

“Put together enough gifts to match and all of a sudden you have $50 million at a school that never raised that kind of money in the past,” Atkinson said. “There is nothing but upside. You’re going to attract the best students, the best professors, the endowed chairs, all the things that really make a university sing.”

Atkinson was among the alumni and friends of SDSU who helped to raise the necessary funding to promote the university’s Mission Valley expansion plan and place it before San Diego voters in  November 2018. Voters approved the measure to sell the city-owned stadium site to the university at fair market value to construct a river park, a new stadium, an innovation district, housing and more.

“Along with this stadium and the building of a new campus, we can take San Diego State to another level,” Atkinson said. “We have an opportunity for the school to be the best it can be — a state college of great renown in the country.”

Atkinson said he has always considered an SDSU education to be one of the best values anywhere.  

“Almost everybody I know who went to San Diego State would say they met a lot of people, did a lot of fun things, and got a hell of an education.”

Well worth the investment.