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Quarterly eNewsletter

The Tower Society eNewsletter is designed especially for our most generous donors, providing updates on philanthropy in action, additional ways to impact students, campus events… and more! This communication is distributed to all Tower Society members with a valid email address on file. Please contact if you have questions about your Tower Society membership status or would like to update your information.

Tower Society at San Diego State University

News for the Tower Society
Summer 2019

Celebrating the Scholarship Donor Appreciation Luncheon
10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago, SDSU alumna, former Campanile Foundation board member, and Tower Society member, Betsy Manchester, proposed we bring scholarship donors together with their student recipients. Last month, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the luncheon with more than 380 attendees who helped raise more than $5.1 million in scholarship support this academic year alone.

Former foster youth and Class of 2019 graduate, Erika Tischofer, is one of many students who received scholarship support throughout her collegiate journey. She credits her scholastic success to perseverance, persistence, resilience, and the SDSU Guardian Scholars Program. During this year’s luncheon, Tischofer shared how the program—and supporters of the program—have impacted her life.

Erika Tischofer and Adela de la Torre

Erika Tischofer (left), Guardian Scholar and Class of 2019 Graduate, and
Adela de la Torre (right), SDSU President

“I am Erika Tischofer, a mother, friend, Guardian Scholar, former foster youth, survivor, fighter, and soon-to-be first generation college graduate.

The National Foster Youth Institute states only about 50 percent of foster youth graduate from high school and less than 3 percent graduate from a 4-year college. So how did I get here?

Before I tell you about my college experience, I would like to share a little about my past, in hopes that my story can help someone else and provide them with courage. I entered the foster care system when I was 2 due to drugs and abuse. I stayed in the system for over 10 years, bouncing around to more than 20 different “new” homes.

During my journey in the foster care system I experienced mental, physical, and sexual abuse, which hindered my spirit greatly. At the age of 14, I was adopted, but unfortunately, the adoption didn’t last long, and at the age of 17, I had to provide for myself.

My senior year in high school was very challenging. I worked 40 hours a week and had serious health issues requiring multiple surgeries. I didn't have time to focus on school, much less college plans. Graduating high school without a family or home was very scary.

The Guardian Scholars Program gave me the opportunity—for the first time—to focus on myself and my studies. I wasn’t going to have to wake up at night anymore wondering where I would sleep next or how I would find food.

My journey at SDSU began to change my sophomore and junior year. I wasn’t able to focus solely on my education because life kept taking its own course. During my time at SDSU, I have lost a grandfather and sister, had to undergo more surgeries, struggled with depression, and had a baby.

I am the last of my cohort, and probably, the longest tenured Guardian Scholar. I used to be ashamed, feeling like there was something wrong with me. I now know that this was my journey, and I learned to be proud and confident in myself.

After seven wonderful years of being a Guardian Scholar, it is now my time to graduate and find my way in the world. I have worked diligently to achieve my degree, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the tools and resources provided me by donors like you through the Guardian Scholars Program. Thank you for having so much faith in students like me—to have so much love and dedication in our lives means more than you could ever know.

Growing up, three words—perseverance, persistence, resilience—always echoed in my mind, because my number one priority was to be successful. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for helping me achieve my goals.”

Philanthropy in Action

New Endowed Chair

Based on the success of previous investments, donors J. Keith Behner and Catherine Stiefel added to their endowment to support international research and teaching on Brazil.

Invest. Inspire. Believe.

SDSU Athletics is placing a new emphasis on its Aztec Club, whose donors raised more than six million dollars last year to help fund student-athlete scholarships.

Fellowship Winners Announced

Students from a variety of disciplines will head to Cambodia for internships this summer, made possible by a gift from the William R. Mundt Peacemakers Fund.

Upcoming Event Highlights

Revisiting Visionary Utopia: Katherine Tingley’s Lomaland

A new exhibit at the SDSU Library explores the Theosophical community of Lomaland, which flourished on Point Loma, San Diego from 1898 until 1942.

2019 Mountain West Baseball Championship

The championship series takes place May 23-26 in Reno, NV.

In Transit

Visit the SDSU Downtown Gallery through July 14 to explore the work of five artists who have forged relationships with and documented the lives of individuals fleeing intolerable hardship.

Share Your Experience

Map of the U.S.

If you live outside the San Diego region but would like to stay connected to the university, consider joining an SDSU Regional Group! Our Aztec network reaches far and wide, providing opportunities in major metropolitan areas across the United States to connect with fellow alumni, friends, students, and to support the university’s mission from afar.

Welcome New Tower Society Members February - April 2019

For the complete Tower Society honor roll, visit our new website.