Alumnus Gives UC San Diego Recreation its First Major Gift

July 14, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
For UC San Diego alumnus Jon Sundt, '86, surfing and playing intramural sports during his university days offered a natural high that balanced the rigorous demands of school. To underscore his gratitude for campus sports activities, the La Jolla native recently gave $250,000 to support the UCSD Recreation Department, which offers facilities and programs for students, staff, faculty, alumni and the university community. Sundt is founder and president of Altegris Investments, Inc. in San Diego.

This donation from Sundt, an annual supporter of the Recreation Department's sports clubs, is the first major gift in the history of the UCSD Recreation Department. His gift contributes to the $1 billion fundraising goal of The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What's Next.

"College is so much more than just books and classes," said Joseph W. Watson, UCSD vice chancellor of Student Affairs. "We're very proud of UCSD Recreation and the department's commitment to providing a broad scope of high quality, dynamic recreational experiences. We thank Jon Sundt for his generous gift that will benefit UCSD students today, and in the future." Four UCSD campus recreation centers including RIMAC, a state-of-the-art recreational and concert facility are immensely popular. Watson reports that 60 percent of the students play intramural sports, adding that UCSD has 25 competitive sports clubs and 32 recreation clubs.

Sundt's gift provides $200,000 in current-use funds, which he hopes will be used for outdoor lighting to extend students' playing time.

"When I was at UCSD, playing intramural sports was a great outlet for me one that balanced the pressure of my studies with the added social benefit," Sundt noted. "UCSD's Recreation Department has been an important part of the overall college experience at the university for years. I'm pleased to play a role in ensuring that future generations of students will benefit from the types of recreation programs that I enjoyed during my undergraduate years at UCSD."

The remaining $50,000 of the gift will be endowed funds, providing for the maintenance of the Sundt Memorial Gate to Black's Beach which is used by students and residents alike and the placement of a plaque near it honoring Sundt's father, who recently died of cancer, as well as his two brothers. The plaque will read:

Beyond the gate,
at the end of the road,
the journey begins and memories last forever…
for Dad, Eric and Steve

Unfortunately, rather than pursuing a natural high, his two brothers took another road … and both died due to the effects of drug use. Sundt uses the pain of losing two of his brothers to help other teenagers avoid the same mistakes. He was honored as a Leadership Award winner by San Diego Channel 10 last year for founding the Sundt Memorial Foundation (www.sundtmemorial.com) and his commitment to keeping kids off drugs both locally and nationally.

The Sundt Memorial Foundation's unique drug prevention program is making a lasting impact on young people. Over the last 12 years, the Foundation has touched the lives of millions of kids across America through assemblies, educational materials and its highly acclaimed Natural High video series. The Foundation also funds substance abuse treatment and recovery centers that help kids and adults ride the drug-free wave to a fresh start in life. "Philanthropy is the most profound kind of gift," added Sundt. "You give … and then you get back in so many ways."

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About The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What's Next:

Since its founding just 45 years ago, the University of California, San Diego has rapidly achieved the status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research. In order to keep UCSD at the forefront of academic and research excellence, the university launched The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What's Next in July 2000. Donations to the comprehensive $1 billion fundraising campaign will help support students and faculty, expand academic programs, fund research endeavors and strengthen innovation funds to meet the highest priority needs. The Campaign for UCSD has generated nearly $895 million to date, but there is over $105 million to raise before the campaign concludes in June 2007. For more information, please visit www.campaign.ucsd.edu.