September 23, 2023
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CSUCI gets $10.5M from heirs of developer Bud Smith


A foundation created by the late Ventura County developer Martin V. “Bud” Smith and his wife has donated $10.5 million to CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo for its school of business and economics, a gift the university called “transformative.”

The Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation was established by Bud Smith, a philanthropist, entrepreneur and developer who died in 2001 at age 85; and his wife Martha, who died in 2003. The new gift, announced by CSUCI on Dec. 2, brings the total contributed to CSUCI by the foundation to more than $19 million since 1999, making the Smiths the largest donors in the university’s history. The $10.5 million donation is the second largest single gift in CSUCI history; earlier this year, Amazon billionaire MacKenzie Scott gave the university $15 million.

Bud Smith built Topa Financial Plaza, an office complex in Oxnard that includes the tallest building between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. He also developed the Wagon Wheel complex in Oxnard and many of the signature properties at Channel Islands Harbor.

The Smiths’ four daughters — Antoinette Gardiner, Marjorie Tegland, Victoria Pozzi and Lucinda Daley — have overseen the Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation, along with several of their children and advisors.

In a news release announcing the donation, Pozzi said she believes “one of the best things we have done as a family and a foundation is invest in CSUCI,” and said her father “firmly believed in the importance of having a four-year university in the county.”

Of the $10.5 million donated by the foundation, just over $3.5 million will be used to complete the renovation of the new home for CSUCI’s Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics, located in the former Manzanita Hall, and the refurbishment of an adjacent courtyard.

The new space will be named the Martin V. Smith Hall, and the courtyard will be named the Martha K. Smith Courtyard.

The Smith School is expected to move into Martin V. Smith Hall by fall 2022.

The remaining $7 million will be used to create a new endowment for the Smith School.

“With the funding for the next phase of construction of the Martin V. Smith Hall and for the endowment, the Smith Family Foundation is honored and privileged to support the continued growth of Cal State Channel Islands and the MVS School,” Pozzi said. “The gift not only carries on my father’s legacy, but contributes to the development of the area’s future business leaders who will ensure the region’s strength and vitality continues.”

The school has “distinguished itself through its growth, the excellence of its professors and its innovative programs,” Pozzi said.

The gift will allow the Smith School to continue to enhance its academic programs and student experiences to ensure they meet the needs of the workforce, while also supporting cutting-edge faculty research, said Susan Andrzejewski, the school’s dean.

The renovations in Martin V. Smith Hall and the courtyard will “enrich our students’ educational experience by providing numerous spaces for collaboration, hands-on learning, and opportunities to engage with our talented and dynamic faculty and industry partners,” Andrzejewski said in the university’s news release.