Friday, December 2, 2016

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As guests filtered into Viejas Arena, they were greeted by jazz music and a big-screen rendition of Hepner Hall. Photos by Frank Villalpando, California Candids

Hepner Hall Goes on Screen

$1.6 million in gifts were announced at the kick-off event for SDSU’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign.
By Lorena Nava Ruggero

No one has ever seen Hepner Hall like guests did Friday night, when San Diego State celebrated the official kickoff of The Campaign for SDSU, the university’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign.  

Large screens shaped like the iconic campus building stood tall over more than 400 guests, including donors, students, faculty and staff, on the floor of Viejas Arena, where the event was hosted. Throughout the program, the screen showcased Aztecs engaged in the programs and activities that make the university great.

The Campaign for SDSU is the first university-wide fundraising campaign in SDSU history. It includes all of SDSU’s colleges, SDSU Athletics and KPBS.

Funding raised by the university will help attract and retain top faculty, support innovative programs and assist talented students through scholarships, as well as move the university forward with strategic investments in people and programs. To date, the campaign has raised more than $270 million towards its $500 million goal.

Transforming SDSU

“This is about transforming SDSU into one of the great public universities,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president for University Relations and Development and CEO of the Campanile Foundation, at the event’s start.

“And it is about all of you – our alumni, friends and supporters – and how you can help us do just that.”

This is about transforming SDSU into one of the great public universities.

Recognizing big gifts

Additionally, SDSU President Elliot Hirshman announced $1.6 million in donations collected earlier in the week, including:

  • $100,000 from Hirshman and his wife, Jeri
  • $100,000 from Charles and Chinyeh Hostler for fellowships in the College of Arts and Letters
  • $100,000 from Steve Cushman for the College of Business Administration
  • $300,000 anonymous gift for scholarships for Guardian Scholars
  • $500,000 from Irwin Zahn for entrepreneurship in engineering
  • $500,000 from Sharp Healthcare for scholarships in the Sharp HealthCare Professional Education and Research Institute

Leadership starts here

“We believe leadership starts here at San Diego State,” said Kit Sickels, chair of the Campanile Foundation and an SDSU alumnus. “And, with your support, our students, our faculty and our staff will provide the best and brightest to the region and beyond.”

At the celebration, a video was shown encapsulating the purpose of the Campaign for SDSU. 

Throughout the event, stories of inspiration were shared by:

During the event, a group of students from the master’s of fine arts musical theater program also performed a special song written specifically for the campaign. The MFA program is the only one of its kind in the country.

The event ended with a rendition of the fight song by the SDSU Marching Band and a burst of confetti. Guests then exited on a red carpet flanked by hundreds of cheering SDSU students, waving flags and thanking donors.

For more information on the Campaign for SDSU, visit the website.

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