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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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Jeff Glazer posed at the door to the Development Suite at Fowler Athletics Center named in his honor. Jeff Glazer posed at the door to the Development Suite at Fowler Athletics Center named in his honor.

A Gift for a Giver

A family birthday present leads to SDSU Athletics dedicating its Jeffrey W. Glazer Development Suite in honor of the retired lecturer, university benefactor, and longtime Aztecs basketball fan.
By Tobin Vaughn

Jeff Glazer (’81) admits he’s not much of a sports fan, with one big exception: Aztec men’s basketball. He has followed the team as both a donor and season-ticket holder for the past quarter century.

“It's more than basketball; it's like a family,” Glazer says of the program that produced a 2023 NCAA National Championship Tournament finalist. Making the team’s historic run even sweeter for him was the SDSU Athletic Department’s dedication of its Jeffrey W. Glazer Development Suite in his honor.

The suite signage went up on the third floor of the Fowler Athletics Center the same day the Aztecs flew to Orlando for the first round of the tournament. Glazer was also along for the ride that, as it turned out, lasted all the way to the championship game in Houston.

Both the suite naming and the trip resulted from a unique milestone birthday present dreamed up by Glazer’s family. Their gift of a $100,000 donation in his name to the men’s basketball excellence fund celebrated Glazer’s long association with SDSU as a degree holder, lecturer, volunteer, and donor combined with his love of Aztec basketball.

Meaningful gift

The idea was hatched as Glazer’s 70th birthday approached during the COVID-19 pandemic. His wife, Lisa Braun Glazer, and daughters Julie Scher and Anna Simon considered many gift ideas.

“Our dad is a very, very difficult person to buy presents for and it's nearly impossible,” Scher said of their discussions. “We were trying to think of something meaningful that we would do for such a big milestone birthday and San Diego State basketball has really captured his heart.”

“We knew the program meant a lot to him,” added Simon, “so we talked with some people in the athletics department to see what we could do.”

Glazer is a member of the Director's Cabinet, a group of community leaders invested in the growth and success of San Diego State Athletics. With his input, Glazer’s family decided on contributing to the men’s basketball excellence fund.

The suite named for Glazer houses much of the staff of the Aztec Club, an athletics department fundraising entity. SDSU Associate Athletic Director of Philanthropy Matt Wittig said the suite naming is especially significant since Glazer’s support has made a positive impact on the lives of many SDSU student athletes.

“Gifts like these are huge for an athletics department,” Wittig said. “We are thankful that Jeff and the Glazer family have opted to continue supporting San Diego State.”

Family Tradition

The Glazer family has a long tradition of philanthropy.

Glazer’s grandfather, Ellis Levitt and his mother, Maddie Levitt, established a family legacy of education fundraising. Both were longtime trustees at Iowa’s Drake University.

His mother is said to be the first woman to chair two consecutive fundraising campaigns of $100 million or more during the same decade for an American college or university. She also contributed millions herself to Drake, where she is still celebrated. She was recognized by many organizations for her philanthropy and volunteerism, including the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, which honored her as Philanthropist of the Year; she also received the highest award given by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for alumni volunteer involvement.

Glazer follows his mother’s example by supporting SDSU and its students as a donor and volunteer. He is a former member of the SDSU Alumni Board of Advisors and was a founding and now current member of The Campanile Foundation, SDSU’s philanthropic organization, and he received the 2008 Distinguished University Service Award at the SDSU Alumni Awards of Distinction. Glazer also received the Harvey Goodfriend Award, given by SDSU Associated Students to recognize “outstanding contributions to the betterment and welfare” of A.S.

In 2015 he funded and helped launch the university’s Jeffrey W. Glazer Center for Leadership and Service. He also provided a $1 million gift to establish the Glazer Outstanding Lecturer Fellowship Endowment in 2021 to spotlight excellence among lecturers in the Fowler College of Business.

With regard to his own philanthropy, Glazer said, “I just feel incredibly fortunate and want to share the opportunities that I have.”

He sees an extension of the family tradition in his daughters and other family members who contributed to his birthday gift. “It reinforces to me that we were able to pass down the legacy from my grandfather and my mom about philanthropy and giving back,” he said.

That he and his family were able to support the basketball team’s success is gratifying to Glazer, who appreciates his ongoing association with the program. “It’s just this great experience,” he said. “I'm excited about naming the development suite in athletics because I know that the gift makes a difference.”

Considering that Glazer admits to being difficult to buy a gift for, it’s a total score.