CSU, Chico College of Agriculture Receives $1 Million Gift to Endowment Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 11-28-2017

Sean Murphy
TEL: 530-898-6492
Sarah DeForest
College of Agriculture 
TEL: 530-898-3737

Already recognized as one of the nation’s finest programs, a recent $1 million gift to California State University, Chico’s College of Agriculture will provide additional scholarship support to recruit talented, community-minded agriculture students to the program and ensure continued student success.

Dan Giustina, one of the University’s leading benefactors, has given the additional $1 million to grow the Bell Family Presidential Scholarship Endowment, which directly helps students in the College of Agriculture. Fourteen students have received scholarships through the endowment since its creation in 2013. The new gift will increase the number of students who are awarded the four-year scholarship each year.

“I wanted to change lives, and there’s no better way to change a life than to offer a person the chance to better themselves,” Giustina said, adding that if the endowment makes a difference in a student’s life, and subsequently inspires that student to help another student who then helps another student, then “we may be looking at a way to improve on all of our lives.”

Giustina, a proud University of Oregon alumnus, created the Bell Family Presidential Scholarship Endowment four years ago with an initial $2 million gift in memory of alumnus Tom Bell and his wife, Dorothy, and sisters Claudine Bell and Helen Head. The University’s largest scholarship endowment  celebrates Giustina’s connection to CSU, Chico through the Bell family and reflects their mutual love of CSU, Chico. Tom Bell, who owned the local 16,000-acre Bell Ranch, was a descendant of some of the original Chico settlers and was an advocate of higher education.

Giustina befriended the Bell family many years ago, and they introduced him to Chico and the University. After watching Tom Bell donate to the University, Giustina was inspired to do the same.

“He always talked about Chico, Chico State and the students,” Giustina said.

In creating the Bell Family Presidential Scholarship Endowment, he aimed to do two things: establish a lasting legacy for the Bell family at CSU, Chico, and to invest in education.

“I believe very strongly in education, and I thought there’d be no better way than to give back to Chico State,” Giustina said, adding that the University has “been like a second home to me.”

Giustina remains impressed with CSU, Chico, its culture and its leadership, all of which contribute to his continued generosity and desire to make a lasting impact. He firmly believes in the transformational power of scholarships, especially in the light of the rising costs of education.

“It’s more expensive than ever, and it’ll continue to get more expensive,” he said. “I want to try to make the cost of education affordable for students.”

As the College of Agriculture looks for additional philanthropic support to fund student success, it is one of more than 50 campus programs participating in Chico State Giving Day, as it works to raise funds for students to attend the California Agricultural Seminar. Chico State Giving Day is a part of the global Giving Tuesday movement and unites the entire Wildcat family of students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends to support the University’s community and programs. The University’s first comprehensive 24-hour fundraising effort runs today, Nov. 28, from midnight to 11:59 p.m. During the drive, any gift to any area will count toward the University’s Giving Day totals.

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About California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico is the second-oldest campus in the 23-member CSU system, the nation’s largest public university system. Founded in 1887, Chico State enrolls approximately 17,500 students and offers more than 230 undergraduate and graduate programs through its seven colleges and five schools. The campus is consistently ranked as one of the best regional public universities in the Western United States, and is the only CSU campus to have earned a favorable rating in all five categories of the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scoreboard, which rates universities on affordability and value. Its mission includes a broad commitment to environmental sustainability, public service and community engagement throughout the 12-county North State region where the campus is located. The University became a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2015.