Cal State Northridge announced Tuesday that its administration building will be named Valera Hall in recognition of a nearly $11.1 million gift from alumnus Milt Valera and his wife.
The gift includes an endowment and scholarship for the Resilient Scholars Program, which provides a safety net for college students who grew up in the foster care system.
The money will also go toward scholarships and endowments for colleges across the campus, including CSUN’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication, Oviatt Library, the Michael D. Eisner College of Education, the university’s Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program and the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, campus officials said.
Milt Valera, a 1968 CSUN graduate, worked at two Los Angeles metropolitan newspapers, formed his own public relations and marketing agency and subsequently went to work for the National Notary Association, where he became the association’s president and CEO in 1982.
He has served on numerous CSUN-affiliated boards and advisory councils, and was honored in 2011 with the Dorothea “Granny” Heitz Award for outstanding volunteer leadership and in 2019 with the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
His wife is the executive director of the National Notary Foundation, as well as being a philanthropist and supporter of numerous causes, CSUN officials said.
“Milt and Debbie Valera are two of the most committed and passionate supporters of education that I have ever met,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said in a statement released by the university. “I am delighted to celebrate this transformational gift that benefits so many areas of the university, particularly our Resilient Scholars. Milt and Debbie’s approach to CSUN is endless enthusiasm and endless commitment. This gift will make an indelible impact on generations of CSUN students.”
Valera said he and his wife “hope that our gesture can serve to motivate others to support CSUN and other CSU campuses.”
“Education has always been an important part of our lives, and we are proud that our gift will be able to be put to good use at so many programs on CSUN’s campus,” he said.
The Soraya’s lobby will be named the Milt and Debbie Valera Lobby, and the Resilient Scholars Program will also be named in the couple’s honor.
“In a rarity for higher education, the Valeras’ generosity and philanthropic impact reach across every corner of the campus,” said Robert D. Gunsalus, CSUN’s vice president for University Relations and Advancement and president of the CSUN Foundation.
“For more than three decades, they have tirelessly advocated on behalf of CSUN’s mission and have become dear friends of many across campus,” he said. “Milt and Debbie are part of the growing number of Southern California philanthropists who see the elevating power of the university and know that, through CSUN, their investments will have an amplified positive effect on the region.”