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Power of 1,000 Hornets
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State's efforts towards a new Event Center received a considerable boost with the donation of $750,000 by philanthropist Ernest Tschannen.

The gift is one of the largest donations ever given to the athletics department, and will directly benefit the University's Power of 1,000 Hornets campaign – the first step in a crowdfunding effort to bring an Event Center to campus. The campaign's premise is to harness the enthusiasm of 1,000 supporters to each provide $1,140 or more to raise seed money to build the Event Center.

The donation was announced tonight at the Men's Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Banquet where Tschannen was introduced to a capacity crowd by head men's basketball coach Brian Katz and University President Robert S. Nelsen.

"Sacramento State Athletics is truly grateful to Ernest Tschannen for his showing of generosity to this great University," Director of Athletics Bill Macriss said. "His philanthropic gift signals a new day in the support of Hornet Athletics. It is our hope this gracious show of philanthropy by Mr. Tschannen will inspire others to follow in his footsteps and will encourage alumni, community members and fans to support this critical project."

A chance encounter during a Coaches Caravan trip between Mr. Tschannen's advisor and consultant, Lee Grichuhin, and Katz served as the starting point to this philanthropic story. A native of Switzerland, Tschannen moved to the United States as a civil engineer in the 1950s and later became an investor in real estate.

"I was overwhelmed when Mr. Tschannen stepped forward," Katz said. "We are obviously thrilled, and during the process of getting to know Mr. Tschannen, I realized that he is just a wonderful person. He figures out places where people are in need, and tries to fulfill those needs as much as possible. We're extremely thankful to Mr. Tschannen - his generosity to the Athletics Department will be remembered forever."

An avid kayaker, cross country skier, cyclist and hiker, Tschannen has made a living out of maximizing investments and using the money for charitable contributions. He has donated millions of dollars over the years, including to the refurbishing of the American River Parkway. Sacramento State is the third higher education institution to which he has donated.

"My primary goal in life is to give to society what the United States has given to me," Tschannen said. "The gym at Sacramento State was too small to host a conference championship event for basketball, and the Power of 1,000 Hornets initiative inspired me to come forward with a gift."

The proposed Event Center will be a modern, multi-use facility that will increase programming and services for activities such as job fairs, speaker presentations, Commencement ceremonies, featured athletics events, competitions, educational sessions and entertainment such as concerts or performing arts. In addition to the programming benefits, this signature venue will increase the University's connection with the greater Sacramento community, and increase student employment opportunities on campus.

"Mr. Tschannen's gift shows the tremendous support of Sacramento State Athletics in this city and the belief of providing a great experience for our student-athletes along with the campus community," Associate Athletics Director Markus Jennings said.