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Monday, Mar 27, 2023

CSUF Severs Ties with Alumnus Steve Mihaylo

California State University-Fullerton said it’s removing alumnus Steve Mihaylo’s name from its business school, citing a $22 million unfulfilled philanthropic commitment.

University President Fram Virjee said in a press release the dispute originates from Mihaylo asking the university to buy equipment from his telecommunications firm, an action that the university was advised might be “unethical and potentially unlawful.”

After multiple attempts to work with Mihaylo, the university said it could not reach an agreement.

“We appreciate Steve’s past philanthropy to his alma mater and are grateful that many Titans have benefited from his time and treasure,” Virjee said in the release. “We regret that he has elected to not fulfill his financial pledge to our College of Business and Economics.”

Mihaylo contributed $4.2 million to the construction of a new business school building in 2004. That building will continue to bear his name as a reflection of his fulfilled gifts, according to the university, the largest in Orange County.

He committed an additional $30 million in 2007, which resulted in the renaming of the college. The university said Mihaylo made payments totaling about $8 million until 2016, when he ceased payments and suggested the institution purchase equipment from his telecommunications company.

“In 2016 I did cease making additional payments. Not for financial reasons, not because the University was not cost effectively run and not because the University would not use, what I believe, was a very cost effective telephone solution, but because the University did not keep its commitments to me,” Mihaylo said in a statement provided to the Business Journal. He cited his politically conservative viewpoints as a prime reason for the break-up with the school.

Mihaylo is CEO of Crexendo Telecom, a Tempe, Ariz.-based communications firm valued at about $150 million.

CSUF said it will not pursue legal action against Mihaylo at this time.

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