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Cal State Will Build Center for Study of Aging

Times Staff Writer

Cal State Fullerton, with $1.3 million raised so far, is on the threshold of building an institution for the study of aging, university President Jewel Plummer Cobb announced Wednesday.

The new Cal State Fullerton Gerontology Center is expected to cost $1.7 million. Cobb told a press conference that the $1.3 million raised thus far includes $800,000 in donations to qualify for a $200,000 “quadruple challenge” bequest from the Butler Family Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.

‘Right Place, Right Time’

To qualify for the foundation grant, Plummer explained, the university had to raise four times the pledged amount.

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“The gerontology center . . . (will be) a most important institution, established at the right place at the right time for a growing county which has attracted an unusual number of people who want to spend the rest of their lives here,” she said. Ground breaking for the center is expected next spring, she said.

The long-proposed center will house academic programs focusing on aging, but the 15,000-square-foot, single-story building also will be used for research projects, seminars and conferences. The structure is to be built on campus, on a 2.3-acre site immediately south of the Arboretum.

“To the best of our knowledge, Cal State Fullerton will be able to offer a concept and related services (in the study of the aging) that are unmatched in the county or, for that matter, anywhere else in California,” Cobb said.

Orange County Supervisor Bruce Nestande, who was at the press conference, said the county is lucky to be designated as the site for the gerontology center. “It could have gone on other campuses,” he said, adding that the center would not have become a reality “except for private sector cooperation.”

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Nestande also praised Cobb, saying it was her “dynamic leadership” that enabled the gerontolgy center to take shape. He presented Cobb with a $50,000 check for the center from the Orange County Board of Supervisors--part of the board’s federal revenue-sharing money.

Other governmental donations to the center have included $25,000 from the City of Fullerton, $10,000 from Placentia and $1,000 from Brea.

Harold Butler, board chairman of Herschel’s Deli and Bakery Inc. and former chairman of Naugles Inc., represented the Butler Family Charitable Trust, which made the $200,000 grant to the gerontology center.

“When I said we’d require a 4-1 matching grant, I didn’t think it was possible (for Cal State Fullerton to raise the money),” Butler joked. He added that construction of the center on aging is an “historic occasion,” something that is “widely needed.”

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