Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com
By: Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State University was pleased to announce Wednesday that they received a $1 million gift commitment from alumnus Kevin Swanson (’87 Finance), and his wife Sandy Swanson. Their gift will contribute to a new football operations center on the east side of the CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans.
“This gift reflects the support and love Kevin and Sandy have for our football program and for San Jose State University,” said director of athletics Marie Tuite. “Win or lose, they are committed to improving the experiences and well-being of our student-athletes through their generous donation. They understand the value of the football operations center to San Jose State, and their generosity is an indication of their belief in Coach Brent Brennan and his staff. We offer a sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to two of the best Spartans in our community.”
Supporting Common Goals
The Swansons’ San Jose financial services office is decorated in Spartan regalia, from a SJSU flag hanging on the wall to Kevin’s diploma. As an undergraduate, Kevin was active in the Delta Upsilon fraternity, a network of friends and colleagues, who invited him back after graduating to serve as a fraternity adviser. For 11 years, he mentored Spartans and Sandy attended countless pledge dances and university events. The chance to connect with students on a personal and professional level inspired the Swansons to attend Spartan football games, enjoying tailgates with a community of friends.
“One thing I love about athletics is the opportunity it brings to students who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to pursue an education,” said Kevin. “It offers the opportunity for young men and women to learn more about themselves and to work on a team with a common goal as a community.”
In 2018, the couple learned about Beyond Football, which offers unique programming for Spartan football players to develop career and life skills that extend beyond the sport. Together, they volunteered to offer mock interviews alongside a cohort of Silicon Valley professionals to critique the students’ interview techniques. The chance to interact one-on-one with football players in a professional capacity inspired them to find a lasting way to give back.
“It really struck us that the football team and the Beyond Football program were really making a difference in these young men’s lives,” said Sandy, a CSU Hayward graduate, who calls SJSU her adopted alma mater. “That type of foresight on the part of the athletics department is inspirational for us, and we’d love to see those types of things continue.”
“Kevin and Sandy Swanson have been amazing to us since we came on board two years ago,” said head football coach Brent Brennan. “They believe, like many of us do, that in the process of building a top-flight football program, we need to invest at a high level. This gift is another huge step in the direction of giving our program the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level in the Mountain West. I am so thankful for their belief in what we are building here.”
The Swansons believe that by supporting the football program, they can multiply their impact for all student-athletes at SJSU.
“The impact that athletics has on athletes in any sport is significant and one of the reasons we are making this donation,” said Kevin. “We believe that on most campuses football is a major factor in fundraising and revenue generation for the entire campus. When you have a strong football program, you have a strong athletics program. Athletics really does change students’ lives.”
“Kevin and Sandy are longtime passionate supporters of San Jose State University and of Spartan football, and this commitment speaks volumes about just how passionate they are,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement and CEO of SJSU’s Tower Foundation. “We’re grateful and proud to count them among the growing number of major benefactors who believe in this project and want to see it happen as quickly as possible.”
To track fundraising progress and learn how you can support the football operations center, please visit sjsufootball.com or contact Joshua Thiel, deputy athletics director for athletics advancement, at 408-924-1697 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About San Jose State
The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, SJSU provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study offered through its eight colleges.
With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, SJSU continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce The university is proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.
About San Jose State Athletics
SJSU sponsors 22 (nine men’s and 13 women’s) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually. In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I’s FBS, the NCAA’s highest level of competition.
The Spartans’ primary conference affiliation is with the MW. Selected teams belong to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Golden Coast Conference (GCC).
SJSU has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. 62 Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. Spartan athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.
Annually, about one-third of the student-athlete population earns either an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.