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Mike Curb True to His School

The former lieutenant governor pledges $10 million to Cal State Northridge.

August 24, 2006|Stuart Silverstein | Times Staff Writer

Even though he quit Cal State Northridge in 1963 after his freshman year, former California Lt. Gov. Mike Curb has warm memories of the school, the place where he started earning his fortune in the music industry.

Curb, 61, now chairman of Curb Records in Nashville, showed his gratitude Wednesday, pledging $10 million to the university. Half of the money is intended for the university's planned $100-million regional performing arts center.

The rest of the donation will go to the College of Arts, Media and Communication, with $1 million set aside to endow a faculty chair specializing in music industry studies.

His mentors at Cal State Northridge, Curb recalled in a telephone interview, "allowed me to use their facilities to record. And I wrote my first songs there." That included his breakthrough "You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda," which became the automaker's marketing theme.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday September 01, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 44 words Type of Material: Correction
CSUN pledge: An article in Thursday's California section about a $10-million pledge to Cal State Northridge from former California Lt. Gov. Mike Curb should have noted that the name of the school when Curb left it in 1963 was San Fernando Valley State College.

"I feel if there had been a music-business program that I would have stayed in college, that's why I put so much back into music education," added Curb, who also has endowed a music school in Nashville.

Cal State Northridge officials called the pledge, to be paid over seven years, their largest cash donation ever. But the campus' biggest gift remains a 2003 pledge of $38 million in Chinese antiquities.

In addition, the Curb donation is dwarfed by some of the top gifts to Southern California's research universities, including the $200 million that entertainment executive David Geffen pledged to UCLA's medical school in 2002.

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