Hardy Tower, where the campanile is housed.
Hardy Tower, where the campanile is housed.
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San Diego State University’s campanile or bell tower heralds the most significant events on campus – convocation and commencement, homecoming and Founder’s Day.

Appropriately, it has become the symbol for a dynamic entity whose creation a decade ago set SDSU on a path to becoming a leading urban research university.

The Campanile Foundation is SDSU’s philanthropic auxiliary, created in 1999 to provide investment oversight of assets derived from private support and to advocate for San Diego State in the community.

The people behind the Campanile Foundation are mostly SDSU alumni—influential, civic-minded philanthropists who understand that private giving is an increasingly critical source of revenue for the university as state support for higher education withers.

Powerful collective

As the Campanile Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary, SDSU President Stephen L. Weber, who spearheaded its launch, assessed the foundation’s impact.

“In the last decade, the size of the Campanile Foundation board has more than doubled from 15 to 34; and this powerful collective has helped us raise upwards of $520 million in private support,” he said. “That figure is 250 percent more than total funds raised during the previous 102 years.”

Thanks in part to the board, the last two fiscal years have been the best ever in fundraising for SDSU. Gifts and pledges from July 2007 through June 2009 totaled $138 million. To appreciate the magnitude of the total, consider that giving to SDSU averaged less than $20 million annually in pre-Campanile Foundation days.

The board’s investment oversight is also partly responsible SDSU’s growing endowment, which rose as high as $97 million in 2008. The worldwide financial market implosion reduced that figure, but improved yields this year helped the endowment recover to $101.6 million by Sept. 30, 2009.

“The Campanile Foundation has been a catalyst for change at San Diego State, and its growing impact mirrors the progress of our campus community,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, SDSU’s vice president of University Relations and Development and CEO of the Campanile Foundation.

Foundation board members champion SDSU in the community, reconnect the university with “lost” alumni and strengthen its partnerships with local industry. This town and town interaction has given rise to new academic programs training students to work in San Diego’s leading industries: biotech, construction engineering and hospitality and tourism are a few examples.

Individual support

Several Campanile Foundation board members have made gifts that gratify their individual passions while supporting key academic programs and initiatives.

Ron Fowler’s commitment led to the creation of the Entrepreneurial Management Center, the lynchpin of SDSU’s entrepreneurship program, which ranks among the top 25 in the country. Fowler is founding chair of the Campanile Foundation.

A seed gift from L. Robert Payne ’55, current board chair, sprouted the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, one of SDSU’s fastest-growing academic programs. Payne—along with close friends Leon Parma and Jack Goodall—also contributed the naming gift to the new Alumni Center.

“At some point, you recognize that you’re very fortunate to have achieved the success you’ve had. It’s payback time,” said Payne.

Christopher (Kit) Sickels, ’60, is a patron of the children’s literature program, while gifts from Terry Atkinson, ’69, support general scholarships, athletic scholarships and faculty excellence in the College of Business Administration.

Board member Nicole Clay ’67, ’72, and her husband, Ben, ’69, are cornerstone contributors to the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.

“As we look at the first 10 years of the Campanile Foundation, the alumni center is one of our major accomplishments,” said Nicole Clay. “This new home for Aztecs will help reconnect our 200,000 graduates to their university.”

With wide-ranging networks in Southern California and particularly in San Diego, Campanile Foundation board members also extend SDSU’s outreach to longtime residents who may not have appreciated the academic powerhouse that is SDSU.

And that outreach grows with the addition of each new board member. This year, the Campanile Foundation welcomed: Terry L. Atkinson, ’69, former managing director for UBS PaineWebber Inc.’s municipal securities group; Alan D. Gold, ’82, ’88, chairman and chief executive officer for Biomed Realty Trust, Inc.; Greg T. Lucier, chairman and chief executive officer of Life Technologies; and Kenneth McCain, ’70, ’75, executive vice president and founding principle of Wall Street Associates.

“We’re incredibly fortunate that members of our extended Aztec family are choosing to invest in SDSU,” said Carleton. “Their support is helping us to recruit and retain top faculty, attract meritorious students, build top-ranked academic programs and conduct groundbreaking research—all of which increases SDSU’s contribution to a thriving regional economy.”
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"I Believe" 30 second spot
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Shot throughout San Diego County, the spot features various community members repeating parts of the "I Believe That We Will Win" chant. Along the way, energy builds as the chant is joined by famous Aztecs such as Ralph Rubio and Mayor Jerry Sanders.

also inside 360 Magazine

Spring 2012 360 Magazine
SDSUniverse welcomes submissions of interest to faculty and staff from all campus areas.