SDSU receives $20 million donation

by Adriana Millar, Senior Staff Writer

San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman announced a historical donation of $20 million during a ceremony at the new Aztec Student Union on Feb. 5.

The donation, made by local philanthropist Conrad Prebys, is the largest in school history. The Aztec Student Union has been named the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union in honor of his gift.

“Look to your right and look to your left,” Associated Students President Josh Morse said during the ceremony. “You’re sharing a historic moment.”

The donation, which will help support about 150 students annually, will fund scholarships for students in bio-medical research, the creative arts, the Guardian Scholars program, entrepreneurship, leadership as well as the SDSU Honors program and student veterans.

“The idea of scholarships intrigued me, because I know how difficult it is going to college right now,” Presby said. “Back when I was going to school, it was no big deal to work while you were going to school. Now it can’t be done, really. It’s very difficult and expensive.”

Although Prebys has supported numerous organizations throughout San Diego, his donation marks his first toward student scholarships.

“The endowed scholarships Conrad is creating will transform our campus, providing support for programs throughout the university,” Hirshman said. “We are deeply grateful for this gift and Conrad’s profound commitment to our students and their futures.”

Prebys said he’s excited for the possibilities of funding his gift will provide SDSU.

“The conditions of my philanthropy, I have to have it in my gut … It’s got to be there from the get-go,” Prebys said. “I pleased with everything I’ve done in philanthropy. And right now, my favorite is San Diego State.”

The donation will help the school reach its goal of $500 million for The Campaign for SDSU.

“The future of San Diego State depends a lot on philanthropy,” SDSU’s Vice President of University Relations and Development Mary Ruth Carleton said. “And being associated with Conrad Prebys in such a meaningful way is very important to that effort.”

Although he hails from Indiana, Prebys has maintained a longtime connection to SDSU.

“When I started thinking about it, it turns out everyone that works for me went to San Diego State,” Prebys said. “ So we’ve been connected for years and years. And I’ve said this in a joking manner, we finally made it legal … I’m proud to be officially connected to San Diego State.”

Photos by Jordan Owen.