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SDSU Gets $20M Gift From Conrad Prebys

San Diego State University announced Wednesday the largest single gift it has ever received — $20 million from developer and philanthropist Conrad Prebys.

San Diego State University announced Wednesday the largest single gift it has ever received — $20 million from developer and philanthropist Conrad Prebys.

The money will endow scholarships that will benefit around 150 students annually, according to SDSU.

In exchange, the new student union building that opened last month will be called the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

Speaking at the announcement, Prebys said he is very excited to be giving back to SDSU.

“I just feel so good about it, when you really hit one out of the park, you know what that means and this is it. I’m so grateful to be a part of this university,” Prebys said.

Special Feature Explore SDSU's New Student Union Center

A fitness center, a 12-lane bowling alley, eateries, a bank, a travel center — explore the more than 200,000 square foot student union center at SDSU.

According to SDSU, the scholarships will support:

• student veterans who are within two semesters of graduating and have exhausted their GI benefits and other forms of financial support;

• students intending to pursue careers in bio-medical research and bio-medical engineering;

• creative and performing arts students involved in musical theater, art, poetry and creative writing;

• former foster youth who require year-round support since they don't have families to help them with their expenses;

• students who demonstrate significant inclination towards entrepreneurial achievement and who will participate in formal programs in the school's Zahn Innovation Center and/or the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center;

• participants in SDSU's Associated Students leadership team and other formal university leadership programs; and

• high-achieving students involved in a program of rigorous study emphasizing creativity, leadership and critical thinking.

Prebys said he wanted his donation to go to scholarships because it is difficult for students to simultaneously work and focus on getting an education.

"The idea of scholarships for students intrigued me, because I know how difficult it is going to college right now," Prebys 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."

Josh Morse, president of Associated Students, said Prebys' donation sends a strong message to SDSU students.

“Your gift tells all SDSU students that you believe in us. Thank you,” Morse said.

Prebys previously worked in the construction business and has donated to many other causes in San Diego. A longtime supporter of the arts, Prebys and his partner actress Debbie Turner have previously given $1 million to the Masterpiece Trust, half of which went to KPBS. Prebys has also donated to UC San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, Boys and Girls Club, Old Globe Theater, La Jolla Music Society, San Diego Opera, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Scripps Prebys Cardiovascular Center, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the Salk Institute.

His gift to SDSU pushes the total for the multi-year Campaign for SDSU to $465 million. The fundraising campaign has a goal of $500 million.

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