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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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SDSU donors made nearly $137 million in gift commitments during the 2022-23 fiscal year. (SDSU) SDSU donors made nearly $137 million in gift commitments during the 2022-23 fiscal year. (SDSU)

Transformative Donor Support Empowers SDSU’s Future

Key gifts supporting research are among contributions totaling almost $137 million in 2022-23.
By Tobin Vaughn

San Diego State University donors delivered $136,900,569 in gift commitments in 2022-23, a $593,826 increase over the previous year. 


SDSU Vice President of University Relations and Development Adrienne Vargas said the gifts, which cover the year ending June 30, reflect donations for student support, departments and programs throughout the university ranging from research and athletics to KPBS. 


“It’s across the board as our donors continue to contribute at an extraordinary level,” Vargas said.


This latest philanthropy news comes just days after the university announced a boost in its efforts to secure an R1 classification from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to reflect “very high research activity.” In the past year, SDSU earned $192.2 million in research grants and contracts, which also established a new school record.


Research is a strategic priority at SDSU, and Vargas said donor generosity increasingly supports that emphasis. She cited two contributions from the past year that are reflective of the university’s goal:


  • Faculty Emerita Anne Verderber Taylor of the SDSU School of Nursing named SDSU as a beneficiary of her estate to establish the Anne Verderber Taylor Endowment. The endowment, to be created through a planned gift, will support nursing faculty research. The gift prioritizes academic research, recognizing its value in fostering early-career nursing faculty, boosting their competitiveness for larger grants, and amplifying SDSU's research impact globally, thus sustaining the university's research momentum.

  • The J.W. Sefton Foundation provided a grant in support of the SDSU Water Monitoring Project, enabling impactful and critical research collaborations to help ensure a clean water supply for the San Diego region. “Applied research is a unique value that San Diego State has versus other institutions because so much of our research has to do with San Diego,” Vargas said.


Earlier this month, SDSU’s Division of Student Affairs announced a $3 million gift from Frederick W. Pierce IV (’84, ’88) and Christine F. Pierce to create a Greek Life Center endowment at SDSU. The gift is intended to extend leadership skill development to a broader range of students.


The Pierces’ gift helped cap a successful albeit challenging year for fundraising. Inflation created economic uncertainty among some donors and potential donors, causing them to adopt a wait-and-see position regarding their donations.


“It definitely has impacted us,” Vargas said. “I think there's some caution and hesitation, and I think a lot of people have put their gifts on hold.”


But in spite of the economic environment, she added, “our donors gave us another very successful year and we are extremely grateful for their support.”


Learn more about making gifts to SDSU or contact Associate Vice President, Mary Darling, at 619-594-8299

To learn about leaving San Diego State University in a will or trust, contact Associate Vice President, Amy Walling, or at 619-508-9255.