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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

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Support for SDSU Hits New Record

Major gifts for the astronomy department and the arts contributed to a total of more than $133 million in 2020-21.
By Tobin Vaughn

San Diego State University received a record of more than $133.2 million in gift commitments in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The total marks an increase of roughly 5% from the previous year, according to a Sept. 20 announcement by Adrienne Vargas, vice president of University Relations and Development. The new high represents a third consecutive year of growth in giving to SDSU. The figures include support from gifts of all types across the entire university.

Among the largest gifts announced during the year ending June 30 was the realization of a $14 million bequest to the Department of Astronomy from the estate of the late Theodore William Booth and his late wife Nhung Lu Booth (’85), an alumna of the College of Sciences. The bequest, announced in March, represents the largest donation to a single department in the university’s history.

Also in March, San Diego’s largest charitable organization, the Conrad Prebys Foundation, announced an $8 million grant to be awarded over five years to KPBS. Then in April, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts announced a $6 million grant from the Prebys Foundation for development of a new stage for student productions and rehearsals.

Vargas said one of the reasons giving is on the rise at the university is that donors are becoming more aware of the impact their gifts can make at SDSU. “They know that at San Diego State they can make a difference,” she said.

“There are so many exciting projects, programs and opportunities happening here that they want to be a part of it.” One example, she noted, is SDSU Mission Valley, where the new Aztec Stadium will open in less than a year and a river park will soon be developed.

“That stadium is not just for San Diego State, it’s actually for the entire San Diego community,” Vargas said. “Donors know they can be a part of that, and that’s exciting.

“The same is true with our Performing Arts District where we are going to be changing the lives of young people who want to go into the arts,” she added. “That’s the beauty of San Diego State: there is something for everyone.”

Information on making gifts to SDSU can be found at