A gift from Bud and Jan Richter, who have been community and California State University, Fresno volunteers and benefactors for more than 60 years, will help establish the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State.

During his annual fall address to faculty on Monday, Aug. 20, university President John D. Welty announced the Richters’ commitment of $3.5 million to endow the center and to help meet the needs of the region through service. After consultation with the Academic Senate, Welty will seek permission from the California State University Board of Trustees to name the center for the Richters.

During the past academic year, more than 6,300 Fresno State students participated in organized community service-learning. They logged 485,300 hours providing an economic benefit to the community estimated at more than $10.4 million.

One goal of the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State is to help the university to achieve 1 million hours of annual service from the campus through students, faculty and staff by the end of its Centennial in 2011.

Addressing the Faculty Assembly, Bud Richter said, “The people of Fresno State can shape the culture, economy and infrastructure in our future. You are providing students positive community service educational experiences. You are teaching students how to give back to their community through their volunteer service. It is a win-win for everyone.”

The Richters serve as the co-chairs of the Campaign for Fresno State.

Goals of the new center include:

Increasing the quality and quantity of engagement and service programs by promoting and supporting greater student, faculty and staff participation.

Enhancing student learning and development by better connecting the curriculum to current issues and community needs.

Monitoring the region’s social, educational and government environments and directing resources of Fresno State to address their most critical needs and issues.

Assisting area nonprofits improve and better address community problems.

In introducing the Richters, Welty said, “I’m very proud of the many Fresno State students who volunteer in the community. Thousands of our students serve our region each year. The story of Fresno State is told through their hard work and dedication.”

The Richters began their philanthropic relationship with Fresno State in the 1950s: Bud as president of the Bulldog Foundation and Jan helping form the Women’s Bulldog Foundation. Bud Richter served on the steering committee for Bulldog Stadium, which broke ground in 1980.

In the early 1990s, the Richters became involved in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development’s Capital Campaign and established the Richter Awards for Excellence, which honor faculty and staff for exemplary service. They also were instrumental in the concept and planning of the Teachers Honor Wall which is located in front of the Education Building.

In 1997, the Richters were presented with the Pinnacle Society Award for their philanthropic giving to Fresno State and both are life members of the Fresno State Alumni Association.

Bud Richter was awarded an honorary doctorate by the California State University in 1998.