Anna W. Ngai’s ’74 voice trembled slightly Saturday as she recalled how Cal State Long Beach has changed her life. She said the education she received from The Beach has opened doors for her throughout her life.
Now, she has opened the door to the thousands of alumni and future graduates who will benefit from the new alumni center that bears her name. The long-anticipated Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center, which officially opens to the public in the fall, will serve as a welcoming center where the alumni community can gather, mentor, network and remember their days at The Beach.
The $11.5 million donor-funded center, with its state-of-the-art interior and midcentury modern exterior, displays memorabilia from the university’s 73-year history.
“We all love this school and are glad this building is finally finished and put to use,” Ngai told the estimated 40 attendees at the official ribbon-cutting event that served as the donors’ exclusive first viewing of the center.
“This beautiful alumni center is for our school, the community, the alumni and all of us,” Ngai added.
Ngai, a retired restaurant entrepreneur who received her degree in finance, had long envisioned an alumni center at CSULB similar to what other universities in the CSU system enjoy. She pledged the initial investment in 2013 for the planned 5,500-square-foot center. John C. Molina ‘86 capped the fundraising effort with a $3 million donation that helped kick-start the construction.
“With all of your help, we were able to accomplish this project,” Ngai said. “We all love this school and are glad this building is finally finished and will be used.”
President Jane Close Conoley applauded Ngai’s vision for the alumni center and said that having a “campus gateway” for the current alumni and those in the future will help ensure CSULB will continue to produce successful students.
The 350,000 alumni “give strength” to the campus community, Conoley added.
Built on the former site of the Soroptimist House, the interior of the alumni center features exposed wood beams, sky lights, a fireplace/sitting area and meeting rooms. There is a multi-purpose outdoor terrace with new landscaping and lighting behind the building that can be used for large events.
The center is designed to be a LEED-certified silver building that meets several sustainable goals, among them are:
- all the hardwood used was harvested from sustainable sources
- energy-efficient mechanical systems
- drought-tolerant landscaping
- low-flow water fixtures
- drainage system that collects stormwater