November 12, 2003
INFORMATION: John McElwain or John Green, (661) 362-3494 or 3684
$1 Million Pledged Toward Construction of Permanent University Center
Three donors have given a significant boost to the capital campaign to build a permanent University Center, pledging a combined $1 million to the project and pushing the fundraising effort well beyond the halfway point.
The donations by The Newhall Land & Farming Co., the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation operated by the Newhall family and an anonymous benefactor bring the total amount collected or pledged so far to a potential $6 million. About $10 million is needed to build the center, which will rise on the southwest corner of the campus.
Newhall Land will donate $250,000 to the construction of the permanent University Center, said Gary Cusumano, CEO and president of the company.
An educational environment with access to advanced degrees and optimum technological resources is vital to individuals who want to stay competitive in todays marketplace this makes for better employees, better employment opportunities and ultimately better business, Cusumano said. Clearly, the University Center marks a major step in providing higher education to residents of our valley.
The Newhall foundation, run by the family members descended from local pioneer Henry Mayo Newhall, pledged $50,000 per year over the next five years provided the College of the Canyons Foundation raises an equal annual amount. The foundation, the colleges independent fundraising arm, is handling the centers capital fundraising campaign.
The Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation is proud to make one of the initial founding grants to the University Center, said Tony Newhall, secretary of the foundations Board of Directors. Normally our grants range from $5,000 to $10,000, but in this case we raised it significantly because of the University Centers incredible value and potential contributions to higher education in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The anonymous donation arrived with a check for $50,000 and a pledge for $200,000 more provided the colleges foundation raises at least $250,000 by Dec. 31. If the college can raise that latter figure by the year-end deadline, the three pledges announced today will be worth $1 million.
Completion of University Center is key to the Santa Clarita Valleys future success and vitality, and Im proud that Newhall Land and the Newhall Foundation recognized its importance and stepped up to the plate with their generosity, said Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, superintendent-president of College of the Canyons. The anonymous donation, while generous, presents us with a challenge to step up our fundraising efforts to meet the Dec. 31 deadline. We will meet that challenge.
University Center is an innovative concept in which students earn bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, as well as specialized certificates, right on the College of the Canyons campus. The idea is to eliminate long commutes to distant college campuses and provide convenient access to higher education by bringing the colleges and universities to the Santa Clarita Valley.
It is, in fact, much more than a concept. Although the permanent building hasnt been built, University Center is already up and running in an interim facility. Two-hundred-eighty-seven people have earned degrees most of them at the graduate level in the interim facilitys first 18 months of operation.
Nearly 300 people have earned their degrees right here without having to leave this valley or fight their way through congested freeway traffic, said Kathleen Maloney, executive director of the COC Foundation. Thats a strong indication of the critical demand and need for accessible higher education in this valley.
It also indicates that many residents have been prohibited from pursuing their educational dreams because of the time constraints of commuting elsewhere, Maloney said. I believe that University Center is a concept whose time has come.
Current partner institutions include Chapman University, University of La Verne, Woodbury University, California Lutheran University, English Language Schools, California State University Bakersfield, Cal State University Northridge and Cal State University Fresno. Discussions are under way with other institutions, as well.
The Interim University Center offers a wide assortment of degree programs, such as business administration, child development, communications, computer science, criminal justice, educational counseling, health administration, nursing, psychology and social sciences. More degree programs, especially those that have been in demand locally, will be launched as more universities join the consortium.
Heading the capital campaign are Tom Lee, retired CEO of Newhall Land, and Lou Garasi, chairman and CEO of Gruber Systems. Honorary chairman is U.S. Rep. Howard P. Buck McKeon, and chairman of the campaigns Lead Gifts Committee is Dick Luechtefeld, senior vice president of investments for Morgan Stanley.