Occidental College has received a $5-million gift that will enable the college to establish a
new endowment aimed at boosting Oxy’s ability to stay abreast of the latest
advances in technology.
The gift comes from David and Kathleen Berkus and their family, who also gave Oxy $1.25 million in 2007, thereby creating an endowment for building maintenance, college President Jonathan Veitch said in a campus email communiqué.
Berkus, who graduated from Oxy in 1962 with a degree in business administration, has been on the college’s board of trustees for many years. A note venture capitalist, author and speaker, he has “an impressive record of effective service to the college,” Veitch said, adding that Berkus currently chairs the board’s Technology Task Force.
“Dave has been a major advocate for the creative use of technology at Oxy,” Veitch said. “He was an early advocate of using the Web as a tool to better engage alumni and played an important role in bringing wireless technology to campus.”
After graduating from Oxy, Berkus founded Computerized Lodging Systems, which was listed for two straight years on Inc. magazine’s list of America’s fastest-growing companies. He is among a few people inducted into the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professional International Hall of Fame.
“His practical knowledge of the nuts and bolts of running a college, his and his family’s generosity, and their willingness to address needs that affect the entire campus in fundamental ways is rare,” Veitch said.
In recognition of the Berkus family’s longstanding generosity, Oxy’s latest and largest residence hall—Rangeview—will be named Berkus Residence Hall, Veitch said, adding that as a member of the board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, Berkus played a key role in the hall’s development.
A formal dedication ceremony of Berkus Hall is scheduled on Sept. 29.