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$1 Million gift to SDSU supports Pride Center, LGBT studies



Robert DeKoven, a former Associated Students president at San Diego State University in the late 1970s, has made a planned gift to support SDSU’s Pride Center and LGBT Studies Program. 

The $1 million gift was announced July 11 at SDSU’s Pride Flag Raising Ceremony, an annual campus event. SDSU is the second university in the United States and the first in California to offer a major in LGBT studies.

“I can never repay SDSU for the educational experience I received here,” said DeKoven, a legal writing professor at California Western School of Law and affiliated faculty member in SDSU’s LGBT Studies Program. 

The Robert DeKoven Endowment for Leadership, Inclusion and Entrepreneurship will support curricular and co-curricular activities. DeKoven is a long-time supporter of SDSU’s Lavender Graduation, which celebrates the achievements of graduating LGBTQ students. 

“Rob’s generous gift is a testament to the persistence of our students, alumni and campus partners who are committed to inclusivity on campus,” said Eric Rivera, vice president for Student Affairs. “Our Pride Center and our university LGBTQ+ initiatives provide opportunities that challenge and support our students’ personal growth and development while allowing them to connect with other students and celebrate our differences, making the SDSU experience unique and powerful.“

SDSU continues to be nationally recognized as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly universities in the nation. The Campus Pride Index recently ranked SDSU in its 2017 “Best of the Best” Top 25 list of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. SDSU has been included in this ranking for the past eight years.

DeKoven (’80) was a co-author of the Human Dignity Ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council in 1990 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and lending. 

He publishes dozens of commentaries a year on issues related to education, privacy and civil rights. As a professor, he has taught legal research and writing to more than 5,000 law students and paralegals in San Diego.

“Now I have the ability to give students the kind of support I needed,” DeKoven said. “Today we are planting a seed that will grow and grow.”

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is a major public research institution that provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its more than 36,000 students. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in 95 areas, master’s degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 22 areas. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, internships and mentoring, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. Committed to diversity and to excellence, 53 percent of SDSU’s undergraduate and graduate students are students of color. The university is also a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is nationally recognized for its study abroad initiatives, veterans’ programs and support of LGBTQ students. For more information, visit

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