Hillel, the organization for Jewish student life on campus, honored alumnus David Nazarian ’82 (Business) last week for his recent major gift to California State University, Northridge’s college of business and economics. The Hillel House hosted a reception Sept. 23 that featured elected officials and campus leaders — and provided an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to mingle with Nazarian, founder and CEO of Nimes Capital.
In March, CSUN announced that Nazarian had pledged to help lead a $25 million fundraising drive and launched that effort with a $10 million cash gift. In recognition of his gift and pledge of continued support, the university has named its college of business the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.
Last week’s Hillel reception in his honor fell one day before the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and many of the speakers reflected on new beginnings and strengthening the Jewish, campus and wider communities.
“What David has done with the college of business here is the perfect example of someone who cares not just for the Jewish community, but cares for the wider community as well,” said Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, where Nazarian and his wife, Angella, are active philanthropists.
State Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, D-Van Nuys, who noted his pride in having CSUN and Hillel in his district, presented Nazarian with a certificate of recognition from the state assembly.
“CSUN is putting out business leaders and has a proud tradition of business alumni,” Dababneh said. “David, I thank you for what you’re doing for this campus, and for your commitment to the college of business.”
Congressman Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, also congratulated Nazarian and presented him with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol.
Nazarian talked with students, faculty and well wishers during the late afternoon reception and spoke briefly, thanking the crowd for honoring him. He noted the important role Hillel has played in the lives of his sons, who celebrated Rosh Hashana last week as students at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.
“We as a family have always taken pride in our Jewish heritage,” he said. “We believe in the power of tikkun olam (“repair of the world”). When my parents came to this country, they rebuilt their lives.
“CSUN has been very close to my heart, not only because it gave me a basis for my own business career, but because it has one of the largest Jewish campus populations,” Nazarian added. “One of my hopes is to strengthen the Jewish community on campus and ties to Israel. … As you pay it forward, others will learn from you.”
Other guests of honor included CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison and Ken Lord, dean of the Nazarian College of Business and Economics. Deborah Kallick, incoming chairman of Hillel, praised Nazarian’s support of his alma mater and CSUN’s students. In addition to CSUN, Hillel 818 serves students from Pierce College and Los Angeles Valley College.
Already among the top 10 largest undergraduate business programs in the nation — with a diverse student population that reflects the demographics of California — CSUN will focus the new funding from Nazarian’s gift on expanding its resources and providing its students, faculty and alumni with access to an array of innovative educational programs and experiences.
More information on how to contribute to CSUN and the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics can be found at www.csun.edu/nazarian.