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The Jolene Koester Music and Arts Education Endowment

For the last decade The Soraya’s international artists and multi-disciplinary programs have been provided free to the tens-of-thousands underserved students in the San Fernando Valley, guided by these core principles: the performing arts are an essential part of the core curriculum for students of all ages; a critical piece in the development of compassionate and informed citizens; and a powerful tool in building bridges between the communities and cultures of our vibrant and diverse region. The time has come for Arts Education to be made sustainable through a major endowment. Through $2-3 million in support to The Soraya, the new Jolene Koester Arts Education Endowment Fund will support The Soraya’s K-12 Arts Education programs in perpetuity, securing the future of Arts Education at The Soraya.

To make a major gift in support of the new Jolene Koester Arts Education Endowment please contact Cameron O’Hanlon at


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Jolene Koester

Jolene Koester, CSUN President Emerita and Chancellor Emerita of the California State Universities, is the individual foremost responsible for The Soraya’s existence. Koester has served the CSU for nearly five decades and is among the most respected leaders in California higher education.


Joshua Bell

Violinist Joshua Bell is one of the most esteemed musical artists of our era, and has performed with every major orchestra on six continents. The April 4th Gala will mark Bell’s 9th appearance at The Soraya, making him one of its most beloved performers.


Gala Chairs Milt and Debbie Valera are passionate supporters of CSUN and education. They are members of the President’s Associates and the Heritage Society and major supporters of the journalism program, the library, The Soraya, athletics and numerous other campus programs. They are also sponsors of several University scholarships and endowments, including their endowment supporting K-12 Arts Education at The Soraya. In 2022, Milt and Debbie Valera made a transformative gift to CSUN and The Soraya naming University Hall (now Valera Hall) and The Milt and Debbie Valera Lobby at The Soraya. Milt and Debbie now honor their long-time friend Jolene Koester and Soraya regular Joshua Bell through The Soraya’s 2024 Gala.



Joshua Bell and Academy of St Martin in the Fields Performance Underwriter 

Jerry and Terri Kohl

Gala Sponsorship Provided By

U.S. Bank Foundation

Gala Leadership Support Provided By 

Linda and Mike Curb, Hon. D. ‘09
Karen Dunbar Enzer ’82 and Earl Enzer ‘83
Laurence K. Gould
Kathleen P. Martin
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
Manja Swanson

Additional Support Provided By 

Nancy Cartwright
CSU Foundation
Sherry Lapides
George S. Leis ’81 and Laurie L. Leis ‘18
Julia Strickland and Timothy S. Wahl

Honorary Committee

The Honorable Roberta Achtenberg

The Honorable Michael D. Antonovich

Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield

The Honorable Wendy Greuel

The Honorable Robert M. Hertzberg

United States Senator Alex Padilla 

The Honorable Joy Picus

United States Congressman Brad Sherman

The Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa

Host Committee

Neal M. Berg ’80 and Rosalyn Berg
Dr. Leanne L. Freeman
Jim J. Gorman
Christi ‘ 07 and John Robinson

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