On a mission to transform CSU San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus into a destination for students near and afar, Ward and Pat Fredericks have made its expansion the centerpiece of their retirement.
Their interest in the campus traces to 2007 when Pat, a retired real estate agent, enrolled to pursue a master’s degree. She became a founding member of the Cal State University Associates, and drew Ward, a retired international business executive and university professor, to the cause. He’s now the board president of the Palm Desert Campus Advancement Board.
Together, they rally support for the campus master plan, which calls for new academic buildings, a library, and student housing. “A fine university will make a huge difference in this community,” says Ward, who also donated money to build an iconic clock tower on campus. “We hope the clock tower inspires students. This could become a destination campus, something really extraordinary.”
Meanwhile, campus leaders continually consult with the local business community, especially the economic powerhouses of tourism, hospitality, and healthcare, to align course offerings to optimize impact on the local workforce.
“We want to expand the opportunity for students who love the area and would like to stay here,” Ward says. “[The campus] will also give new and established companies and organizations access to trained management people so they can avoid bringing them from outside the area. This is a new start. This can be an extraordinary campus. It’s up to us to build it.”
VIDEO: Watch an interview with Ward and Pat Fredericks.