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    CSUF’s Center for Leadership renamed to honor a distinguished alum
    • March 28, 2023

    The contributions of a CSUF alum, an accomplished leader in a wide range of endeavors, will help to ensure that current and future Titans have the tools to become leaders themselves in their chosen professions.

    During a ceremony held March 15 in the courtyard outside the CSUF College of Business and Economics, the college’s Center for Leadership was renamed the Giles-O’Malley Center for Leadership.

    The center is named for 1970 CSUF graduate Terry Giles and his wife, Kalli O’Malley.

    “I am feeling so humbled and so grateful and so incredibly lucky,” Giles said of the naming honor.

    Owner and president of Giles Enterprises and member of CSUF’s Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors, Giles provided a $1 million gift to further the Center for Leadership’s mission and activities.

    “This is a center not just for our business school,” Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee said. “This is the center for the building of the future of this campus. Every student should be and will be affected by this Center for Leadership. The opportunity will be provided for them to learn what it means to be a leader.”

    Along with Virjee, notables in attendance included Jay Barbuto, the center’s director and professor; Sridhar Sundaram, dean of the College of Business and Economics; Charlie Zhang, real estate developer and founder of Pick Up Stix; and many of the center’s corporate partners.

    Giles, 74, grew up in an impoverished family and attended 21 schools in a 10-year period before going on to earn a debate scholarship at CSUF and a law degree from Pepperdine.

    Giles’ achievements include the establishment of 35 businesses, one being a successful criminal law firm.

    He owned the third-largest Canon copier distributorship and turned a failing Toyota dealership into the world’s fifth-largest.

    The CSUF alum established Giles Enterprises, a holding company for his family’s array of business ventures.

    Giles credited his success in large part to the education he received at CSUF, particularly on the university’s debate team.

    “My experiences in the courtroom and the boardroom would not have happened at all, I don’t think, if it hadn’t been for debate at Cal State Fullerton,” Giles said.

    In 1994, Giles was presented with the Horatio Alger Award, given by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans to leaders who’ve displayed personal initiative and perseverance, embrace the free-enterprise system and aspire to achieve a better future, often in the face of adversity.

    “When you think about where he started and what he has achieved, the award is almost handwritten for someone like Terry,” Barbuto said. ” He has a great eye for success and knows a great investment when he sees it. He is a master of finding a way.”

    Giles’ endowment will go toward helping the center’s current initiatives and programs expand and grow, Barbuto said.

    The center offers an executive speaker series, executive shadowing and networking opportunities with the center’s corporate partners that include the Honda Center, the Anaheim Ducks, Southern California Edison, Walt Disney International, the Orange County Business Council and others.

    The center also curates a local television program on YouTube, “The Leadership Voice.” The show engages Orange County-area executives in discussions on leadership excellence and development while incorporating field research by CSUF faculty.

    Each episode features a business or community leader who shares their experiences and knowledge to provide viewers with insight into leadership ideas. Giles himself was featured in an episode titled “Become One of the Fifteen Percent.”

    The center also hosts an annual Leadership Awards banquet that recognizes Orange County and Southern California organizations in different categories of leadership.

    Giles became involved with the Center for Leadership about 15 years ago when he was asked by other CSUF alumni if he would help fund the new center, which was in the planning stages at the time.

    “It has turned out to be one of the best decisions that I was talked into in my entire life,” Giles said.

    He also praised the work of Virjee and Barbuto for the center’s growth and impact on the CSUF campus and the community.

    “The Center for Leadership wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication and passion that Jay brings to the table,” Giles said. “I’m so grateful the school brought him in to drive the program. I can’t say enough in appreciation for the job he has done.”

    Giles’ $1 million gift, along with a $250,000 donation from Zhang and significant donations from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, will help fund the construction of a three-story building just east of the College of Business and Economics that will be the Center For Leadership’s new home.

    With construction scheduled to get underway later this year, the new center will feature a library, auditorium, conference room and faculty and staff offices.

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    ​ Orange County Register