Ron and Alexis Fowler applaud during the ceremony at San Diego State University. Photo by Chris Jennewein

San Diego State University unveiled the new Fowler School of Business Administration Wednesday after Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler and his wife Alexis donated $25 million.

The donation is the largest in SDSU’s history, and pushed the university past its 10-year-old goal of raising $750 million. It also marks the first time that an SDSU academic school has been named for a benefactor.

“I think it’s a good business school. We want to make it a great business school,” said Fowler, who is a longtime supporter and holds an honorary doctorate degree.

He said the gift would help the school focus on entrepreneurship and assist deserving students from all backgrounds with scholarships. College is “a great equalizer,” he added.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman embraces Ron Fowler. Photo by Chris Jennewein

“I was the first one in my family to be able to go to college and now we have scholarship programs and we still are seeing kids — especially kids of color — who are the first ones in their family to go to college, and it’s a huge difference,” he said.

Fowler’s gift, combined with smaller donations from others, creates an endowment of $50 million that will be used to recruit faculty, fund scholarships and host special lectures.

“It’s just been a lifelong dream for me to get involved in higher education,” said Fowler, who is also chairman and CEO of the beverage distributor Liquid Investments Inc.

The business school’s new name was unveiled in an afternoon ceremony attended by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, himself an SDSU graduate. The event was introduced by the marching band and cheerleaders.

“With leaders in the community like Ron and Alexis, we are going to serve a future generation of leaders very well,”Faulconer said.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.