Trustees of the California State University system have approved the naming of the Bud and Jan Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State.
The naming recognizes a $3.5 million gift from the Richters that was announced by President John D. Welty in August.
The gift will help the university achieve its goal to provide one million hours of annual service to the community by the end of its Centennial year in 2011.
In comments to the CSU’s Committee on Institutional Advancement, meeting in Long Beach, Fresno State President John D. Welty commended the Richters for their longstanding philanthropic relationship to the university that dates back to the 1950s.
The currently are co-chairing the Campaign for Fresno State.
Fresno State graduate student Melissa Dittmar, who has been involved with community service and civic engagement at Fresno State since her freshman year, also addressed the committee. She said her experiences have significantly enhanced her academic and personal development.
“I have gained invaluable leadership, communication and people skills that will benefit me for a lifetime. I have also gained a lifelong appreciation for the importance of being an active member of the community,” Dittmar said.
Jan Richter told trustees that supporting Fresno State fits in with the couple’s belief in displaying “an attitude of gratitude.”
“We believe you should put your hand out and ask for friendship and to help other people. That’s what we’ve been trying to do with our lives,” she said.
Bud Richter praised President Welty’s efforts to increase the university’s engagement with Fresno and communities throughout the Valley.
“Jan and I feel that Fresno State is without doubt the best school to shape the economy, our culture and the quality of life for our Central Valley for the next 40 years. We can’t think of anything that’s more meaningful in our student’s lives and our communities’ lives,” he said.
Richter said he and his wife were raised to follow the Biblical instruction to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“Seems to me that community engagement is what that’s all about,” he said.