10 years later- SID Craig's gift helps students, valley businesses

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10 years later- SID Craig's gift helps students, valley businesses

A Fresno State student from Germany reads his marketing textbook intently as he studies for a test. A small-business owner from Clovis learns how to set up health insurance for her employees. A Craig School faculty member presents the results of his research on market pricing to an international assembly of finance experts.

These are just a few examples of the impact that the Craig School of Business at California State University, Fresno has made in the last 10 years, thanks, in part, to a $10 million endowment from the Sid and Jenny Craig Foundation. The Craig School is the first endowed business school in the California State University system.

Dr. Fred Evans, dean of the school, said the endowment has helped the Craig School take the lead in preparing business leaders and assisting a variety of businesses throughout the Central Valley.

The gift has allowed the business program to soar to new heights, with four endowed chairs – the most of CSU business program — fellowships to attract and retain the nation’s best faculty, generous scholarships for talented and motivated students, support for faculty research and innovative faculty and student involvement in the community.

Evans said the example of Sid and Jenny Craig opened the door for other alumni and friends to invest in the Craig School. Examples include the Fresno Merchants Association Scholarship Fund, the McGarry Venture Capital Fund, the Clemmensen Family Scholarship Fund and student lounge construction, the Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies, the Wayne and Vera Mae Brooks Chair in Business Law, the Leon S. Peters Honors Program Scholarship Fund, the endowment to support the Real Estate and Land Use Institute and an annual donation in excess of $100,000 from the Business Associates.

In addition to scholarships to help students and programs to assist the community, the entire region has benefited from the endowment by attracting top-notch faculty and students to the area, Evans said. Grants to the Craig School contribute to the regional economy, as well.

“More than $10 million in grants in the last decade — $4 million of that this past year – allowed the Craig School University Business Center, Small Business Development Center, Entrepreneurial Resource Center and Business Incubator to make enormous contributions to the Valley’s economy,” said Evans.

The Craig Scholars program provides up to 40, four-year scholarships, a scholarship program that is the best in the California State University system and one of the best in the country, said Associate Dean Karen Bowerman.

“For the last two years in a row, our Student Human Resources Management chapter placed first in the nation and in June 2001 our HR Team achieved national prominence by winning the SHRM national competition,” Evans added.

The Craig School Internship Program is ranked as “California’s Best” and fields more than 240 student interns a year. They obtain valuable work experience in business and not-for-profit organizations.

Nationally ranked for its Entrepreneurship program, the Craig School offers a course of study at both the undergraduate and graduate level on how to start and manage a new business venture. Students not only learn in the classroom, but learn by doing: Developing plans for a new venture or working with an entrepreneurial firm are both part of the regular curriculum.

Also, the Craig MBA is now recognized as one of the best programs in California, with a goal of being ranked in the top 50 nationally, Evans said. With many innovative programs, the Craig MBA boasts exceptional students and faculty.

Fresno State’s School of Business, established in 1928, was renamed the Sid Craig School of Business in 1992 in recognition of the Craig endowment. Sid Craig was a business and psychology major at Fresno State from 1952 to 1955.

(Research and writing assistance provided by University Relations student intern Stephanie Rodriguez.)