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Mihaylo College Marks First Decade in Steven G. Mihaylo Hall

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About 170 supporters, faculty and students gathered in the courtyard of Steven G. Mihaylo Hall Friday evening to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the building’s dedication.

In the decade that followed that October 2008 dedication, Mihaylo College of Business and Economics alumni grew to more than 60,000. The college created multiple centers focused on entrepreneurship, leadership, family business, insurance and career connections. It sparked two startup incubators — in Placentia and Irvine — giving students key experience helping clients launch new businesses, and a $1.5 million donation from alumnus Jeffrey Van Harte ’80 created the Titan Capital Management Center, an immersive, state-of-the-art trading lab for students.

The college is consistently lauded as a leader, with a No. 1-ranked online graduate business program in California, and an undergraduate business administration program ranked No. 1 in the nation for graduating Hispanic students and Asian-American students.

“You are nothing short of magnificent for what you do for our students,” President Fram Virjee told the crowd of deans, chairs, faculty, alumni and donors. “You are the heart and soul in a place where dreams come true, a place where the rankings and numbers are always great, but where the people and the stories behind those numbers and rankings are the true and special stories.”

The $89 million, 195,000-square-foot building began with a transformative gift from Steven G. Mihaylo ‘69 (B.A. business administration) and his wife, Susie; a six-year plan and a $50 million capital campaign led by generous supporters Paul Folino, the Emulex executive chairman, and the late James Woods ’67, chairman emeritus and former CEO of Baker Hughes Inc.

Many of the donors whose generosity made the hall a reality attended the event and donned medallions to signify their personal investments.

“This building has been more than just bricks and mortar; it has played a transformational role in enabling the college to offer innovative programs, promote student success and moved the college forward to a most prominent position among business schools and beyond,” said Anil Puri, who, as then-dean of the college during the multi-year capital campaign and now directs CSUF’s James and Jeanette Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting.

Ben Gold ’04, ’12 (B.A., MBA), president of the college’s Executive Council and president of Quick Bridge Funding, spoke fondly about the college’s outstanding faculty who integrate real-world experiences into their courses, bridging the gap between academia and the professional world.

“The students that walk through these halls are drawn to greatness because they know that through their own hard work and the best support system that we’re creating here, they have the opportunity to be successful just like you and me,” he told the crowd.   

Morteza Rahmatian, dean of the college, said in the next decade, the college will focus on three pillars: enhance its standing as a top California business school, be a leader in developing the next generation of innovative business leaders, and deliver support and solutions to California’s businesses. The college also will develop faculty fellowships and professorships by establishing a school of accountancy and school of global risk management and insurance, he said.

Rahmatian invited donors to join the university in its comprehensive fundraising campaign. “We are excited about what that means for Mihaylo College,” he said. “How do you see yourself participating in the business of changing lives through education?”

The college’s strong foundation of financial support continues because its alumni and donors want to be a part of that change, said Ernest Schroeder ’67 (B.A. business administration), a member of the college’s dean’s advisory board.

“If you’re looking for a long-term investment in your community, you have to invest in education because it improves the economy and the community,” he said. “I look at CSUF as our community. We have so many first-time graduates and helping them succeed helps to change the families of those graduates too.”