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Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

CSUF Plans Business Leadership Building

A new $20 million building for business leadership is being planned at California State University, Fullerton.

The business school’s Center for Leadership is raising funds to construct a three-story, 21,392-square-foot building. The facility will feature a library, training room, an auditorium, a television studio and student meeting spaces.

“As we grow and develop a national and international reputation, the Center for Leadership will become a destination for business leaders around the country to develop their leadership skills,” said Jay Barbuto, director of the center and a professor of organizational behavior at the university’s College of Business & Economics.

The campaign is halfway toward its goal of a $20 million capital campaign for the new building, as well as an endowment up to $10 million.

The campaign already has the backing of two prominent entrepreneurs: Charlie Zhang, who began the Pick Up Stix fast-food restaurant chain, and Terry Giles, a trial lawyer and entrepreneur who has acquired 35 businesses in his career.

1 of 13

The center is one of 13 centers at CSUF’s business school, which is one of the largest in the nation with a network of 65,000 alumni and business partners.

The leadership center provides scholarships, has a TV show called “The Leadership Voice,” gives annual leadership awards to business executives and holds seminars for managers.

The center “is the best in the country and it can make such a tremendous impact on student lives,” said Zhang, who is currently principal and founder of Laguna Niguel’s Zion Enterprises.

Zhang, who serves on the board of the center, said he supports the program “because I believe in the future of leadership and I want to invest in the future of the next generation.”

Giles, who graduated in 1970 with a B.A. in speech communications from CSUF, is perhaps best known for his career as a trial lawyer, defending such high-profile clients as Richard Pryor, the estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the victims of the California Catholic predator priest cases.

“I consider my training and education at Cal State University Fullerton to be instrumental in my career success, so this is a perfect way to give back to a university that is near and dear to my heart,” Giles added.

The center “has distinguished itself in California. What we hope to do with this expansion is allow the Center to have an impact both nationally and internationally.”

10th Anniversary

The announcement was made during a 10-year anniversary event for the center, hosted by Zhang on Dec. 3 at Newport Beach’s Balboa Bay Club. Among those who praised the center were university President Fram Virjee and Business School Dean Sridhar Sundaram.

“The center currently touches thousands of business managers and industry professionals every year, while also providing opportunities on campus for students developing their career readiness and leadership skills,” Barbuto said.

Donors are being solicited for naming opportunities for aspects of the new building and the Center for Leadership initiatives.

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