On April 9, 2011, Cal baseball, a tradition that dates back to 1892, was saved from elimination caused by financial constraints at the University of California-Berkeley. For seven months, players, supporters and alumni struggled to contemplate life without Cal baseball. In February, Gordon & Rees Founding Partner and former Cal baseball pitcher Stu Gordon took control of the Save Cal Baseball campaign. In less than six weeks, donations and pledges jumped from $1.5 million to over $9 million, reinstating Cal baseball in 2012 and crediting Stu with saving the program. As Chancellor Robert Birgeneau told the San Francisco Chronicle, "It would not have happened without him."
More than 1,000 people contributed to the campaign and 40 people contributed more than $50,000, including more than $100,000 from former Major League MVP Jeff Kent, $50,000 from agent Scott Boras, and $550,000 from Stu Gordon that gave the fundraising effort inspiration and momentum. Chancellor Birgeneau described Stu's efforts as "phenomenal" but, as Stu explained to BerkeleySide.com, "It's still our goal to get up to a $20 million endowment so Cal baseball can be self-supporting."
Twice in recent years, Stu has been named the Carl Van Heuit Cal Baseball Alumnus of the Year and currently serves in an appointed position on the Athletic Director's Advisory Board. His donations to the University have helped make possible the new Cal baseball field and outdoor multipurpose complex. He is also one of the founders of the Bear Backers, an organization which raises more than $8 million each year to support athletic programs at the University. If baseball had been lost, said Stu, "it would have been such a bitter disappointment?I was amazed at how emotional people were."
For more information about the media coverage of this record-breaking fundraising effort to save Cal baseball, please click on the below news articles.
Stu Gordon leads Cal baseball save by donors
Stu Gordon speaks on reinstatement
Cal baseball program to continue
Cal officials about face, reinstate baseball
Cal baseball survives to see 2012