Steve Wagner, the president and co-founder of Stone Brewing, and his wife, Laura. Photo by Andrew Reed

Steve Wagner, the president and co-founder of Stone Brewing, and his wife, Laura, have given $1 million to Cal State San Marcos to establish funding to support social mobility, one of the core tenets of the university’s new strategic plan.

The Stone Brewing Fund for Social Mobility will provide foundational funding to improve college access and success for students via avenues such as Student Affairs initiatives, college faculty mentorship programs and community outreach, according to a news release.

“The social mobility piece is important to us because one of the best ways to solve the inequity or inequality in our society these days is to help people who may not normally have access to a college education to be able to get there and succeed,” said Wagner, who is also CSUSM Foundation board chair. “And it’s not just success for them – it’s success for their families and, in CSUSM’s case, with 80% of graduates staying in the area, it’s success for our region and companies like ours, families like ours.”

The Wagners structured their gift so that it’s both an endowment that supports long-term priorities and a discretionary fund that can be used by CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt for immediate needs, according to university officials.

“I am grateful to Steve and Laura for their immense generosity and confidence in the mission of CSUSM,” Neufeldt said. “We are excited to leverage their investment to support and further enable the success of our students in earning degrees, leading to social mobility and economic prosperity for our entire region.”

Steve and Laura Wagner also fund a music scholarship at CSUSM and School of Arts programming that focuses on underrepresented artists, officials said. Wagner remains active in a professional mentoring program that he helped establish through the College of Business Administration.