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Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Patti Roscoe Patti Roscoe

Patti Roscoe is Ready for Kickoff

The former event management industry executive is eager for the first Aztecs game at Snapdragon Stadium, where a major facility will bear her name.
By Jeff Ristine


When Patti Roscoe was reviewing naming opportunities for a major gift to San Diego State University's new Snapdragon Stadium, it was the job she held as a young adult that ultimately swayed her decision.

Roscoe was in her late teens and early 20’s at a CBS affiliate station in Buffalo, New York, working on the scheduling of the broadcast day (all live in those days), speed-typing scripts for the teleprompter and sometimes conducting interviews with celebrities passing through town for summer stock. A chat with “Perry Mason” star Raymond Burr, one of her favorite actors, left her a bit dumbstruck.  She remembers how kind he was to the kid interviewing him, and she will long remember the scent of his cologne.

The Snapdragon TV/radio booth, therefore, seemed like the right choice for her major financial contribution to the stadium excellence fund.

“It brought back a lot of fond memories of my high school years in early television, and I thought that's something I have to put my name on,” Roscoe said.

So when the Aztecs take the field against the University of Arizona Wildcats on Sept. 3 for the first-ever football game in Snapdragon Stadium — in recognition of her commitment to SDSU — the broadcasters will be working from a television booth named in her honor.

Roscoe holds season-ticket seats on the 50-yard line. She visited the site under a hardhat multiple times during construction, even when the parcel was just dirt, painting pictures in her mind of what it was all going to look like.

“You can really envision the excitement that's going to happen,” she said. “I just couldn’t wait for the first game.”

Roscoe’s affinity for TV did not develop into a career. She instead founded a highly successful San Diego event management company that ultimately grew into an international business which she sold in 2007.

Now retired, she has a long and strong philanthropic history with SDSU, and the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in particular, which she co-founded. Recognizing her contributions to the industry, the San Diego County Lodging Association bestowed an annual “Person of the Year” award in her name.

In 2009, a gift established the school’s Institute for Meetings and Events, along with an endowed faculty position that was said to be the first of its kind at SDSU to bear the name of a woman. She supports a student scholarship in the MFA program in musical theatre and a scholarship in the Hotel Tourism and Management program for a student enrolled in an internship at a non-profit organization. 

She is a member of the board of directors of The Campanile Foundation, the 501(c)(3) auxiliary that accepts and administers all gifts to SDSU. In 2014, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, recognition she said was beyond her wildest dreams.

“When I was a kid, going to college just wasn't in the game,” Roscoe said. After moving to San Diego and developing  her business in hospitality and tourism, she became friends with Joyce Gattas, then dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, who encouraged her involvement in the university’s hospitality and musical theater programs.

After retiring, she said, a continuing involvement with SDSU and the community seemed like a good answer to the perennial question of “Now what?”

Campus interaction

“The fact that I can go on campus and interact with the students is such a blessing.” she said.  “I never had the university experience as a young woman, but I absolutely live it vicariously by hanging out with them. Their perspective on life is so different and interesting.  It really does keep me young at heart.”

She also became a prominent figure in Friends of SDSU, the group that successfully placed a November 2018 ballot measure before San Diego voters to authorize the sale of what was then the city-owned NFL stadium and its gigantic parking lot to SDSU. Snapdragon Stadium is the first component of SDSU Mission Valley, which will eventually include an innovation district for teaching and research, a river park, housing, and retail development.

Now it’s just a matter of time before she gets to be part of the first group of spectators at Snapdragon and “that first inhale” when she walks into the stadium. For this historic event, Roscoe will be watching from the president’s box, directly above her season-ticket seats.

“Anyone involved with SDSU and especially athletics, has to be chomping at the bit for that first game,” she said.

She paused, then added: “I’m really going to have to buy a new outfit.  More red and black!”