Camarillo, Calif., Dec. 21, 2012 – Supporters of CSU Channel Islands (CI) now have the opportunity to leave a visible and lasting mark on the growing campus they’re helping to build. The “Leave Your Mark” campaign, launched in conjunction with CI’s 10th anniversary, allows donors to purchase walkway pavers, trees and benches throughout campus and inscribe them with a name, special quote, tribute or message.

“Leave Your Mark” donation opportunities range from $250 for the smallest engraved paver to $1,000 to adopt a tree to $5,000 for a bench with a personalized plaque.

The donations beautify the campus while also supporting a $15.9 million fundraising effort to help the University’s highest-priority projects move forward during a time of declining state aid. The most critical needs include funds for student scholarships, campus renovations, academic and athletic programs, faculty/student research, a campus events center, and necessities that could arise due to further state budget cuts.

Previous unrestricted donations have financed student scholarships, faculty research, classroom equipment, and helped launch renowned programs like CI’s Institute for Global Economic Research, California Institute for Social Business, and Nursing Program.

“’Leave Your Mark’ is a unique way for supporters to make a significant impact on CI’s future while also imprinting themselves on its history,” said Nichole Ipach, Assistant Vice President for University Development. “Now supporters can physically demonstrate that this is their University and share the important role they’ve played in building and shaping the newest institution in our nation’s largest university system for future generations.”

Brandon Blake, a 2005 business graduate of CI who is now the Chief Operating Officer and a co-founder of the Arete companies, purchased a tree plaque that he plans to inscribe with a favorite inspirational quote.

“The education and experience I had at CI was priceless,” he said. “I see this as an opportunity to give back and to promote future growth at the University. With the current state of the state economy, I've become aware that we have to take matters into our own hands to maintain education for future generations.”

Ventura philanthropist and former teacher Barbara Meister dedicated a paver in memory of her late husband, Larry Meister. She also endowed the Barbara Meister Teaching Scholarship at CI.

“The future of our nation depends upon the youth of today,” Meister said. “Everyone deserves an education and I want to provide scholarships for students who cannot afford to attend a university.”

Diana Smith, CI’s Associate Director of Research & Grants, dedicated a courtyard bench in memory of her grandparents. In 1945, her grandfather was tortured and murdered by Soviet invaders in Lithuania. The inscription reads: “In loving memory of Ona and Juozas Sermuksnis to honor their love and lives, so cruelly ruptured by the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. Peace be with you.”

“My husband and I wanted this to be a place that honors those whose lives would otherwise be forgotten,” Smith said. “The message on the bench was to remind our students and campus visitors not only of the crimes that were committed by the Soviet regime but also to remind us of how fortunate we are to live in peaceful times and enjoy the freedoms that we have. It was a wonderful way to honor the memory of my grandparents and to support the University.”

Their support comes at a critical time. State funding for the CSU has been slashed by $1 billion – or 33 percent – over the past four years. While the system is being funded at the same levels as in 1998/1999, it is serving 58,000 more students. As a result, CI is one of many CSU campuses appealing to the public to help ensure its continued growth and success through partnerships and donations.

Despite the budgetary setbacks, the campus has made remarkable strides over the past 10 years. It has graduated more than 6,800 students; earned national recognition for its faculty, work environment, student research, and community service; made an annual regional economic impact of more than $114 million; doubled its campus in physical size; and maintained a friendly, student-centered culture.

With nearly 25,000 spaces for pavers, 1,300 trees, and multiple spots for benches in the newly renovated Central Mall and throughout the 1,200-acre campus, opportunities abound for donors to show their support.

For more information on the “Leave Your Mark” campaign, visit or contact Nichole Ipach, Assistant Vice President for University Development, at 805-758-1230 or

For more information on the CI Foundation and how contributions at any level can make an impact, visit


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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands 
(CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CI's Social Media.