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Alum donates $300,000 to Anthropology Department

October 19, 2005

Photo of Jay P. Young at Bam, a historical silk route city in IranAlumnus Jay P. Young has pledged gifts totaling $300,000 to the College of Behavorial and Social Sciences' Anthropology Department, the largest individual donation ever to the department.

Young has provided $250,000 in his living trust to create an SFSU endowment fund to benefit the Anthropology Department, and pledged an additional $50,000 to be donated in the next five years.

Young, chief financial officer for the San Francisco Design Center, earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from SFSU in 1981. He joined the center in 1983 as assistant controller and was promoted over the years. In 1995 he earned a master of business administration from the University.

"I feel privileged to be a graduate of the Anthropology Department. San Francisco State introduced me to the rest of the world," said Young, who grew up in San Mateo and now lives in Daly City. "It feels so good to know that anything you give will help."

Young continues to be fascinated by the latest findings and trends in anthropology, even though he has not worked in the field since 1980, when he was a conservation technician for the Legion of Honor and de Young Museum in San Francisco. He subscribes to an annual review that publishes the latest anthropological research and still refers to the textbook that Professor Roger Heglar used in his Introduction to Anthropology class in 1975. Young also feeds his hunger for anthropology by traveling to exotic locales every year. This summer he visited Easter Island.

Young has many fond memories of his undergraduate days. Heglar's class fascinated him with its opportunities to identify and measure bones of human remains. He recalls the energetic and enthusiastic anthropology Professor Karen Olsen Bruhns, who taught the Introduction to Archaeology class.

"I recall that Dr. Bruhns was fascinated with her own lecture," Young said. "How could she not be? I was hooked. I changed my major (from business) to anthropology in the following weeks."

In 1978 Young enjoyed working on the Sutro Egyptian Collection exhibit, which students put on annually to this day. He has kept in touch with classics Lecturer Marian Bernstein, who is still curator of the 700-piece collection of ancient Egyptian jewelry, pots, headrests, gaming pieces, model boats, scarabs, figurines and the triple-nesting mummy set of Nes-Per-N-Nub.

"The fact that our discipline and the way we teach our subject can reverberate so many years later produces a grand sense of accomplishment and affirmation," said Professor James Quesada, chair of the Anthropology Department. "It also helps knowing that this gift can be used by the department in a way that will further advance our collective work. My whole department is very grateful to Mr. Young."

The SFSU Anthropology Department offers bachelor's and master's degrees in archaeology, biological/physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, and visual anthropology. It was founded in 1949 by renowned California archaeologist Adam E. Treganza, whose aim was to bring anthropology into the community and train teachers and others to understand and appreciate the state's multicultural society.

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: Courtesy of Jay P. Young


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Last modified October 19, 2005 by University Communications