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Ventura County

CSUCI Receives Gift for Center

Education: Former congressman Robert Lagomarsino and his wife donate $1 million to the new university's archives department, to be named for the couple.


Former congressman Robert J. Lagomarsino and his wife, Norma, have donated $1 million to support an archives department in a new library planned for the fledgling Cal State Channel Islands.

The gift will help the university develop and maintain the Department of Archives and Special Collections, to be named after the couple. It will include tens of thousands of papers, photographs and awards generated during Lagomarsino's 34 years in elected office.

"It's a big deal," university President Richard Rush said. "It's a wonderfully generous gesture on the part of the Lagomarsinos, and it's another clear testament to the support this region has for a public four-year university."

Lagomarsino, who began his political career as Ojai's mayor and went on to serve 19 years in the House of Representatives, said the couple's gift was a logical extension from the donation of his archives in 1998. But he and his wife also see the gift as a "thank you" to their parents.

"My father was very industrious, very hard-working and very successful," said Lagomarsino, who lives in Solimar Beach, just north of Ventura. "As a consequence of that, we have money and funds we wouldn't have. It's a great opportunity, not only to help the university, but in our way, to honor them."

Added Norma Lagomarsino: "It's a real tribute and we feel honored to be able to do it."

When Robert Lagomarsino in 1961 introduced the first legislation authorizing a public university in Ventura County, it was "just a dream," he said. He has backed the effort ever since, and said he is excited to see it finally coming together.

"I think it will be one of the finest four-year universities in the state, if not the country," he said. "We have the kind of population that really will benefit from it."

Cal State Channel Islands will open to upper-division students for the first time this fall. Its planned 250,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art library and media center--much of which will be funded by revenues from an adjacent faculty housing project--is expected to open in 2005, Rush said.

The library and media facility will be named the John Spoor Broome Library, after the Oxnard rancher who gave $5 million to the university in 1999.

Officials hope the building will become the centerpiece for the new university, which occupies the grounds of the old Camarillo State Hospital.

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