The sporting goods manufacturing company Jas. D. Easton, Inc., has had a decades-long relationship with California State University, Northridge — from offering students hands-on training through internships to its staff working alongside faculty to investigate and solve many materials engineering challenges.
Easton is taking the relationship to the next level with a $1.5 million gift from its philanthropic arms — the Easton Foundations — for the creation of an endowment for faculty in CSUN’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Money from the gift also will be used to bolster resources for the Olympic-style sport of archery on campus.
“California State University, Northridge and the Easton companies have enjoyed a long and highly beneficial history of working together,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “Industry involvement has played a key role in the development of our materials engineering program, and the Easton companies have been exemplary partners. The collaboration between Easton and CSUN has made an indelible imprint on Los Angeles and beyond, and this latest gift from the Easton Foundations will extend the positive impact in perpetuity.
“James L. Easton’s legacy and the Easton name will be an important part of CSUN forever,” she continued, “and hundreds of students each year will be positively affected by the engineering fellowship and the enhancements to our archery programs.”
Greg Easton said the gift honors the long relationship Jas. D. Easton, Inc. and his father, James L. Easton, had with the university over the years.
“My dad directly worked with professors at the university over the years on different projects, trying to improve materials for sporting goods,” Greg Easton said. “The question was always, how do we make a better product to bring out the best in the athletes?
“This also is a great opportunity to enhance the archery program on campus,” Easton added. He and his father are well known for their passion for the sport. Easton noted that studies have shown that young people who do archery are better able to concentrate and focus in school.
“With this gift, we’ll be able to expand the opportunities for students to take part in the sport,” he said
More than $1 million of the gift will go toward the creation and support of the James L. Easton Fellowship in Engineering Endowment in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The college’s dean will select one faculty member from any of the college’s engineering programs to be the “Easton Foundation Engineering Fellow” for one academic year. During that time, the Easton Fellow will receive financial support for his or her teaching, research and service activities.
The remainder of the gift will be used to support CSUN’s student archery club, the creation of an on-campus archery range not far from the baseball diamond and an archery class in the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Development.
Robert Gunsalus, CSUN’s vice president for university advancement and president of the CSUN Foundation, said the gift not only creates an opportunity for students to explore archery, but it also creates a wide variety of career opportunities.
“Countless Northridge students have served in internships and pursued successful professional careers in the Easton companies,” Gunsalus said. “Several of these Matadors have returned to their alma mater to serve on advisory boards, judge engineering competitions, and support the engineering college in other ways. This gift builds on the great relationship CSUN has had with the Easton Companies and amplifies their tremendous positive impact.”
Created by James L. Easton., the Easton Sports Development Foundation (www.esdf) was founded in 1984 with the mission of introducing the Olympic-style sport of archery to more people in Southern California. The success of that effort led to the formation in 2006 of a second Easton foundation, Easton Sports Development Foundation II. Today, the Easton foundations continue to further the sport of archery by bridging the gap between first experience and elite experience. The goal of the Easton foundations is to promote and maintain the viability of archery by growing the sport as a mainstream activity at the state, regional and national level.