September 14, 1998 Vol. III, No. 2

University Reports Record $17.5 Million Fund-raising Total

Tally Includes Single Largest Gift Ever to Campus, $11.2 Million in Software Licenses

Cal State Northridge has reported raising a record $17.5 million worth of voluntary support in 1997-98, boosted by an $11.2 million corporate software gift to engineering professor Ramin Roosta that ranks as the single largest value donation in university history.

The donation of 20 highly sophisticated software package licenses to Roosta's EDA/ASIC lab in the department of electrical and computer engineering came from Synopsys Inc. The Mountain View-based company develops software tools for designing digital systems, circuits and electronics chips.

"I think it's a compliment to the College of Engineering and Computer Science and professor Roosta's department that the company values what he's doing so highly to give them that kind of expensive software," said Bill Outhouse, CSUN's vice president of university relations.

"A lot of faculty might not realize that gifts of software are gifts in-kind to the university," Outhouse said. "It's our goal to raise as much in cash gifts for the university as Dr. Roosta has raised in in-kind gifts. We don't think we've reached anywhere near the potential that's out there."

CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson recently announced the university's $17,482,400 fund-raising total for fiscal 1997-98, including Roosta's software, a 137 percent increase over the $7,379,600 tally for 1996-97. That year's total also included a smaller, but still multimillion dollar software license gift to Roosta.

The professor runs the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) and Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) Design Laboratory on campus, where each year about 30 students learn how to design and test the tiny chips used in everything from cell phones to computing devices to car engines.

"This is the hottest specialty right now in the field of computer engineering," said Roosta, who came to CSUN part time in 1980, became full-time in 1981, and founded his laboratory in 1990. "That's because everything needs to be more compact, more reliable and cheaper."

Roosta said Synopsys is one of the industry's leading software tool developers for chip design. As Roosta's lab has grown in recent years, so have the company's grants of its software packages, although his students also use and learn similar design packages made by other major companies.

Having ready access to state-of-the-art technology in the field also has paid off for the students who work with Roosta to obtain master's degrees. He carries a list of about 40 graduates during the past six years who have landed jobs with companies such as Lockheed Martin, Hughes Electronics, Teledyne and others.

While the $11.2 million amount might sound large for 20 software package licenses, Synopsys officials told the university that valuation actually reflects a nearly 50 percent academic discount from a $20.3 million price that corporate users would pay to have the identical 20 software sets.

Thus each software package license granted to Roosta's lab is valued at more than $560,000. The professor said he would rate CSUN's lab set-up for students to learn EDA as one of the best anywhere. "Usually people elsewhere get one of these packages and they're happy about it," he said.

In the world of university fund-raising, Outhouse said the standard practice is to value software gifts and licenses at their full academic pricing value. And, other Cal State campuses in recent years also have reported large fund-raising totals and increases because of software donations.

But future such gifts to CSUN and other CSU campuses may carry somewhat smaller valuations. CSU advancement officers recently endorsed new system guidelines for future software donations. Those would value the first license at full academic value and subsequent ones at half that rate.

-John Chandler

September 14, 1998

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