Torchlight | Fall 2015

Donor gives Event Center campaign a lift

Katz and Tschannen

Event Center donor Ernest Tschannen (left) with basketball coach Brian Katz ’80, addresses the Basketball Tip Off banquet. 

Sacramento State’s efforts toward a new Event Center received a considerable boost with a $750,000 gift commitment by philanthropist Ernest Tschannen.

The pledge is one of the largest ever made 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. It’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.

“Sacramento State Athletics is truly grateful to Ernest Tschannen for his showing of generosity to this great University,” said Director of Athletics Bill Macriss, calling it a “new day” in the support of Hornet Athletics. “It is our hope Mr. Tschannen will inspire others to follow in his footsteps and will encourage alumni, community members and fans to support this critical project.”

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,” the native of Switzerland 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.”

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.

Join the Swarm and be part of the Power of 1,000 Hornets. For details, visit