Trustees hear of $10 million gift to California Baptist University

Published Feb 02, 2016

RIVERSIDE — A $10 million gift to help fund construction of an engineering building at California Baptist University was announced to university trustees at their Jan. 8 meeting.

Trustees also approved $48 million to construct the engineering facility and gave approval to the executive committee to work out financing through tax-exempt obligations.

Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, said the gift will help fund construction of the three-story building encompassing 100,000 square feet, which will house the Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering. With an estimated total cost in excess of $50 million, the CBU engineering building project is targeted for completion in the summer of 2018.

“We are very excited to announce this wonderful gift,” Ellis said. “It’s not that uncommon today for universities of our size to receive seven-figure gifts — we’ve received several. But to get an eight-figure gift is quite an honor.”

He noted the donation had been in the works for more than a year and that the donor wished to remain anonymous.

“This is going to accelerate the trajectory of the engineering program at CBU,” Ellis said. “It is a tremendous highlight for CBU and we praise God for His providence.”

Trustees also approved a 3.5 percent increase in tuition for the 2016 school year. Next year tuition will increase from $14,287 per semester to $14,781. Officials noted the university continues to be one of the most economical of the private Christian schools in California.

Approximately 92 percent of CBU students receive some form of financial aid, according to university officials. During fiscal year 2014-15, students received more than $179 million through financial aid programs, including $44.8 million in university-funded scholarships, or institutional aid.

Academically, trustees approved several degrees including a master of social work, master of science in mechanical engineering, bachelor of science in inflight services, bachelor of science in unmanned systems, bachelor of science in entrepreneurship and bachelor of arts in comedic arts. Also approved was a doctor of business administration degree for online professional studies.

Trustees heard a retention and graduation rate report that revealed CBU student rates outpace the national average. The retention rate for CBU returning freshmen is 78 percent compared to 74 percent for private, non-profit, four-year institutions nationally. The report revealed the CBU graduation rate is 58 percent, compared to 54 percent for private, non-profit, four-year institutions nationally. The CBU athlete graduation rate is 88 percent, compared to 71 percent for NCAA Division II schools.
In other business trustees approved:

  • the auditor for the school year 2016,
  • a decrease in the endowment spending policy from 5 to 4 percent and
  • two additional International Service Project sites for 2016: Austria and Canada.

The next meeting of CBU trustees is slated for April 29 in Riverside, which coincides with graduation.