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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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SDSU junior Kyle Colonna with alum Steve Doyle (‘80). SDSU junior Kyle Colonna with alum Steve Doyle (‘80).

SDSU Alum Scores Strong Bond with Aztec Soccer Star Over Engineering Goals, Sports

Steve Doyle credits SDSU for his personal and career success, and as the reason why he chooses to give back through philanthropy and mentorship.
By Melinda Sevilla

Steve Doyle (‘80) and Kyle Colonna have a lot in common. 

They both love soccer. They’re both civil engineers. And they both have an unyielding love for San Diego State University.

As captain of the Aztec Men’s Soccer team, junior Colonna was brought by his coach, Ryan Hopkins, to guest speak at a 2021 board meeting of The Campanile Foundation (TCF).

Doyle, president and owner of Sandy Point Properties, is an alumnus who has supported SDSU since graduation as both a donor and a volunteer. He currently serves on the TCF board of directors and is Chair Elect and was in attendance at the meeting.

Doyle was eager to meet and speak with Hopkins because his cousin, a head coach of the Air Force soccer team, knows Hopkins through soccer circles. Doyle himself played soccer through the San Diego county leagues for forty years. In the meeting, he found out that Colonna was also a civil engineer.

Due to these uncanny similarities, after the meeting he introduced himself and asked Kyle if he needed a mentor. “He looked at me and said, ‘Yeah,’ and I said, ‘Well, then you've got one!’”

And that's how it started.

“Since then, Kyle and I've had a chance to get together and talk about his next steps. I’m very excited for him and helping him through his civil engineering courses and degree and then hopefully, finding a little pro time for soccer, before he goes to work full-time as an engineer.”

Colonna is thrilled with the opportunity to learn from someone with the industry experience and expertise of Doyle.

“I thought it was a really great connection and a really good opportunity was on the lines to open my eyes up about the professional side of the engineering world, like getting into the workforce,” said Colonna, originally from Danville, California.

Since then, Doyle’s mentorship has helped Colonna navigate a path for the future as he navigates two demanding areas: Division I sports and engineering.

“Being a student-athlete studying a rigorous course like engineering is a rare case,” Colonna said. “Steve has been able to open my eyes about what's needed and the preparations for me to be able to succeed in the field.” 

Doyle admires Colonna’s commitment to both soccer and his academic career. “It really comes down to a willingness to stick to your time management principles. There are so many other priorities that can easily pull you away from what you feel is the most important, and I give Kyle all the credit. He has his priorities set.”

A lifetime of service
Doyle’s accolades do not stop at just being an alumnus mentor.

“The contributions of Steve Doyle to the success of our College are profound and outstanding,” said Eugene Olevsky, dean of the College of Engineering.

Doyle has participated in the Dean’s Advisory Board since 2008, serving as the chair for seven years. Doyle was also instrumental in helping the College establish a construction engineering and management program that continues to grow and expand every year. He served as fundraising chair of  SDSU’s Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences (EIS) Complex, which opened in 2018. In recognition of his outstanding professional and philanthropic achievements, SDSU last year awarded Doyle an honorary doctorate.
He is a member of two TCF committees and, as an avid supporter of the football and basketball programs, is the immediate past chair of its athletics committee. Doyle currently chairs the Presidential Mission Valley Residential Policy Advisory board, which is overseeing development of residential units in SDSU Mission Valley. 
“Few people have had as significant an impact on SDSU as Steve Doyle,” said Adrienne Vargas, vice president for University Relations and Development. “His passion for the university, which is demonstrated through his many volunteer activities, as well as the major philanthropic gifts have contributed to the social mobility of SDSU’s students and advanced research that is now positioning the university for R1 research status.” 
Doyle has also made major philanthropic investments in the Alumni Association, the College of Engineering (including specific funds for Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering and EIS), the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, Snapdragon Stadium as well as Athletics in general. Steve passed on his passion for SDSU to his three children, one of whom also graduated from SDSU.
As for why he gives back as a mentor and alumnus, Doyle says it’s because of all SDSU gave to him. 
“The education that I received through San Diego State set me up for a career that far exceeded anything I could have hoped for. It was not in my plan to be running a division of a public company with 400 plus people working for me. And that just reinforced the value of the education to me and my experiences there. And I have wanted to and have tried to give back.”
The consummate SDSU alumnus, Doyle inspires current students like Colonna to stand proud in their Aztec education and to give back.
Colonna plans on pursuing a professional soccer career, then transferring over to the world of civil engineering. Doyle says he will be there to support every step of the way.
“We're just getting started.”