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SFSU receives largest gift ever: $10 million

June 1, 2005

Photo of Neda and Manny MashoufSFSU has received the largest private individual gift pledge in its history: a $10 million donation from alumnus Manny Mashouf, founder and chairman of bebe stores inc., and his wife Neda, who also is an SF State alum. The gift, announced by President Robert A. Corrigan on May 28 at Commencement, will go toward a new performing and electronic media arts building for the College of Creative Arts.

The gift will provide private funding needed for the new building, which is planned to be named in honor of the Mashouf family. The private funding will enable the building project to be included on a future statewide ballot initiative that would, if passed, fund a variety of capital construction projects in public education through California bonds.

"Neda and I are excited to be a part of an innovative University that understands the changing needs of its community and the impact that technology has on every aspect of life such as music, art and business," said Manny Mashouf, who earned a bachelor's degree in political science from SF State in 1966. "The balance of career-focused education and 'liberal' education is fundamental to SF State. I strongly believe the cultural fabric of our communities, grounded in technology and education, can be enriched by building new platforms for expression and by stimulating academia with consistent support to our educators and students."

The gift is the second largest alumni donation ever to a CSU campus.

"Manny and Neda Mashouf exemplify the San Francisco State spirit with their innovation, accomplishment and commitment to community," Corrigan said. "Their great generosity honors the University, and, coming as it does from two graduates, stands as a testament to their appreciation of their San Francisco State experience. The Mashoufs' landmark gift spearheads development of a state-of-the-art building that will inspire students and faculty to reach new heights in innovation and creativity, and further contribute to the rich cultural life of the Bay Area."

The building will replace the existing Creative Arts building, located on Holloway Avenue between Serrano Drive and Tapia Drive, which can no longer contain the size and energy of its programs. The building held its first class in 1953, when SF State opened its current campus in the southwestern corner of San Francisco.

The new building, to be located at the corner of Font and Lake Merced boulevards, will cover about five and a half acres and 242,000 square feet -- 65,000 square feet larger than the existing building.

The new building will contain instructional and performance spaces -- including a 1,200-seat auditorium, 450-seat theater, 350-seat recital hall and 250-seat "black box" theater -- enhanced by a multi-story, glass-enclosed lobby. The building will house the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department, Theatre Arts Department and School of Music and Dance. The other departments in the College of Creative Arts -- Art, Cinema and Design and Industry -- will remain housed in the Fine Arts building, which was expanded and remodeled in 1993.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2009-2010, with doors opening in late 2012.

"I am inspired by the Mashoufs' commitment to the College of Creative Arts and support of our plan to build a new home for our world-class students, faculty and programs," said Keith Morrison, dean of the College of Creative Arts. "It has been a delight to meet Manny and Neda Mashouf and their family. I look forward to working with them as we develop a cutting-edge building that the entire Bay Area will be able to utilize and enjoy."

The existing Creative Arts building will eventually be demolished. SF State is working to determine a future use for the location that the existing building occupies.

Manny and Neda Mashouf are actively involved in SF State alumni activities and continue to support the University's strategic planning goals. They previously donated more than $200,000 -- primarily to the College of Business to help recruit and hire faculty. Manny Mashouf, also honored at Commencement as SF State’s 2005 Alumnus of the Year, is a member of the College of Business Advisory Board.

Manny and Neda Mashouf are committed to expanding opportunities and accessibility to theatre, music, dance, performance arts, electronic media and other experimental and innovative programs. "It is essential that we keep cultural resources open to the public," Manny Mashouf said. "It is important that we invest in our own communities and inspire the next generation to do the same."

The Mashoufs live in Southern California. Neda Mashouf serves as vice chair of bebe stores. She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from SF State in 1984. Manny Mashouf’s son Karim earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from SF State in 2002.

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: Courtesy of bebe stores


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Last modified June 1, 2005 by University Communications