Terry Giles

Terry Giles

Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Leadership is celebrating a $1 million pledged gift from the Giles O’Malley Foundation, managed by longtime CSUF supporter and alumnus Terry Giles ’70 (speech communication). The center supports leadership education for Titan students and the broader Southern California business community.

Giles is the owner and president of Houston-based Giles Enterprises and a widely acclaimed trial lawyer, who has defended clients such as Richard Pryor, the Martin Luther King Jr. Estate and the victims of Catholic Church priest abuse cases. Giles’ commitment to his alma mater began decades before with support of scholarships for the campus’ debate program. In the 1960s, it was the debate program at Cal State Fullerton that first drew the young Giles to the university.

“It was great fun and great preparation for my career,” he reminisces. “It’s not difficult to see the jump from collegiate debate to trial lawyer or chairman of the board — all require training so that you’re able to think quickly on your feet.”

With a strong record of leadership – including establishing or acquiring 35 businesses over his career, including his own law firm – Giles has long been actively involved in the Center for Leadership, first serving as a founding member at its establishment in 2009.

The Center for Leadership Comes of Age

In the years since, the Center for Leadership’s offerings have expanded, including the Leadership Scholars program (now open to all CSUF students), executive programs for local businesses, a leadership-focused MBA concentration, and the annual awards luncheon honoring outstanding professional leadership in Orange County and beyond.

“They’ve really done a great job with the center not only with helping students but in bringing the business community into the university to connect with students,” says Giles of the center’s director and Management Professor Jay Barbuto, and deans Anil Puri and Morteza Rahmatian. “The mentoring programs are really special.”

In June 2021, the center will move from running a year-to-year operation to becoming a permanent fixture of CSUF and the Orange County community, solidifying its status as a major component of the education and opportunities that CSUF provides.

President Fram Virjee hailed Giles’ recent gift, which is among the largest in the history of the business college.

“With his generous support and visionary leadership, Terry is expanding the high-impact opportunities we aim to equitably provide all students at our top-10-ranked business school,” says Virjee. “The impact of this investment will eternally reverberate across the local business community and beyond, as it powers the development of diverse leaders needed for the future Orange County.”

Dean Rahmatian agreed, noting that the gift furthers the college’s overall mission of preparing the Orange County workforce to lead in the 21st century.

“With the expansion of our business leadership programs, Terry’s gift fuels the momentum we have in educating the region’s workforce. We are grateful for his ongoing support of our college, which also includes the generous gift of his time, as he routinely interacts with students on campus and shares his considerable expertise.”

For More Information

Read more about Giles’ generous gift, his broader involvement at Cal State Fullerton (including founding the new Titans Talk Business speakers series program) and his personal story in this CSUF News article.

For more on the Center for Leadership, including getting involved in the center as a student, faculty/staff member, alumni or business professional, reach out to the center at leadership@fullerton.edu.

And to learn more about Giles’ personal experience of overcoming hardship and rising above to lead in your sphere, check out his 2020 book, The Fifteen Percent: Overcoming Hardships and Achieving Lasting Success.