California Lutheran University announced Wednesday that it has received $6 million – the largest single gift in its history.
The money was pledged by Steve Dorfman, the former Hughes Electronics vice chairman, and it will go toward construction of a School of Management building on the Thousand Oaks campus.
The two-story, 27,000-square-foot Steven D. Dorfman Center will bring most of the school’s faculty offices together with classrooms under one roof for the first time.
It was a need Dorfman recognized as a member of the school’s advisory council.
“I could see their enormous success, but I could also see the limitations of their current infrastructure, with faculty and students spread all over campus,” said Dorfman, who lives across the street in University Village Thousand Oaks.
“I've always been interested in education, and I saw an opportunity for me to make a significant difference at Cal Lutheran by sponsoring an attractive new School of Management building located right in the center, centralizing operations and enhancing the look and feel of the campus,” he said in a prepared statement.
He added that it will allow the management school “to move to the next level and on its way to become one of the leading business schools on the West Coast.”
“This is one of the most significant developments in the evolution of the School of Management, and we are deeply grateful to Mr. Dorfman for his vision and his generosity,” said the management school’s dean, Gerhard Apfelthaler.
During his time at Hughes, Dorfman served as the chief executive of Hughes Space and Communications Co., Hughes Telecommunications and Space and Hughes Communications. His responsibilities ranged from directing the landing of five probes on Venus to helping create Direct TV. He received NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award.
The school said that with Dorfman’s gift and about $500,000 from other donors, Cal Lutheran will begin public fundraising and planning. The building will be constructed where Nygreen Hall, an assemblage of portable classrooms completed in 1973, currently stands. A grand lobby with glass curtain walls will face Memorial Parkway.
The school offers undergraduate programs in business administration as well as MBAs and master’s degrees in information technology, management, public policy and administration, and quantitative economics.