Gift Establishes Largest Scholarship Fund in University History

Dan Guistina and President Zingg

Ag Students Beneficiaries of $2 Million Endowment

CSU, Chico agriculture students will have access to significant scholarship funds for years to come, thanks to one of the largest gifts in university history.

The Bell Presidential Scholarship Endowment, supporting students in the College of Agriculture, was made by Dan Giustina, managing general partner of Giustina Resources, an Oregon-based timber products company, at an Aug. 22 news conference. Giustina, former president and chairman of the University of Oregon Foundation, presented a $2 million check to CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg to establish the endowment.

“I hope the Bell Family Presidential Scholarship Endowment will bring the best and brightest agriculture students in California to Chico State,” said Giustina. “Our higher education system is the envy of the world, and student scholarships play an important part in maintaining that level of excellence.”

Two new students next year, and up to four in each subsequent year, will receive $5,000 per year as Bell Presidential Scholars. The college will have up to 16 scholarship recipients at any given time.

The new scholarships are named in honor of the Bell family, who ranched in Butte County dating back to 1875. Giustina was close friends with Tom Bell, who managed the Bell Ranch and ranched more than 16,000 acres in California and Oregon until he passed away in 1987.

“Chico State has a long and important history with ranchers and farmers in the North State,” said College of Agriculture Dean Jennifer Ryder Fox, noting that Tom Bell’s Aunt Ada attended the University in 1889, only two years after its founding. “We have deep roots and a bright future, made even brighter by Dan Giustina’s wonderful gift.”

Giustina was the recipient of the University of Oregon Presidential Medal in 2007 for “long-standing and extraordinary support” for the universary, where he received his bachelor’s degree and MBA. He was a main donor to Oregon’s Ford Alumni Center, which opened in 2009.

“Dan Giustina is one of the leading philanthropists in the West supporting excellence in higher education,” said Zingg. “The fact that he has chosen to start this new scholarship fund speaks to his exceptional generosity and to his identifying Chico State as a leader in California higher education.”

Students who apply to be Bell Presidential Scholars must have strong academic backgrounds and a commitment to agriculture as well as demonstrate a history of leadership and service.

CSU, Chico’s College of Agriculture is one of just four CSU ag colleges in the state and has seen its enrollment double since 2006. The 800-acre University Farm boasts a U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected meat processing plant, an Irrigation Training Facility, and the first university-based organic dairy on the West Coast.

—Joe Wills, Public Affairs and Publications. Photo by Phil Schermeister.

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