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California’s Sycuan Band of the Kumayaay Nation Donates
$5.5 million to San Diego State University
Will Establish the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming and Offer
Undergraduate Degree Program in Tribal Gaming


SAN DIEGO (Monday, July 25, 2005) – San Diego State University will offer the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in tribal gaming and a university-based research institute to focus solely on tribal gaming, university and local tribal leaders announced Monday.

California’s Sycuan Band of the Kumayaay Nation donated $5.5 million to San Diego State that also will be used to establish the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming to study the fastest-growing sector of the multi-billion dollar U.S. gaming industry.

“This partnership is designed to have a transformational effect on tribal gaming across the nation,” said San Diego State President Stephen L. Weber. “The Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming will explore and address important industry issues and create best practices to resolve them. This continues San Diego State’s tradition of working with the community to create innovative programs.”

Indian gaming is growing twice as fast as commercial casino gaming, with tribal gaming operations in the California-Northern Nevada region (with a reported $5.8 billion in tribal gaming revenues in 2004) far outpacing other states’ share of a reported $19.4 billion in gross revenues from tribal gaming nationwide for 2004 – as reported this month by the National Indian Gaming Commission, which regulates tribal gaming.

“San Diego is the natural place to build the nation’s premier academic and research institute on tribal gaming, since this county is home to the largest tribal gaming community (nine tribes with gaming facilities) in the world,” said Joyce Gattas, dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. “We’re very grateful to all those at Sycuan who have generously given us the means to pursue this.”

The new tribal gaming degree program and Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming will be housed within the university college’s Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) Program. The Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming gift includes $5 million to endow the center and $474,000 in annual support, following an earlier $50,000 gift to the university in 2004.

“The Sycuan Tribe is proud to partner with San Diego State University to establish this important new educational program,” said Sycuan Tribal Chairman Daniel Tucker. “San Diego State is nationally recognized as an innovative leader in higher education, and we are honored to work with SDSU to create this new institute as a center for student learning and academic research that can help support the continued growth of the tribal gaming industry.”

The rapid growth of the tribal gaming industry in recent years is creating a shortage of managers and other professionals who are trained in the industry’s unique regulatory, cultural and marketing characteristics, said industry and university officials.

“One of the significant challenges facing the Indian gaming industry – and most other business sectors – is finding qualified entry-level management professionals,” said Steven Penhall, general manager of the Sycuan Resort and Casino in San Diego County, owned by the Sycuan Tribal Government. “The San Diego State University HTM degree program and the focus education students will receive from this new institute will help our industry fill a growing need for professional management staff who understand the unique demands of the hospitality business.”

Carl Winston, director of the HTM program, said he expects the program to hire its first tribal gaming chair within the next 12 months to head the institute. The institute will feature the new academic program, a public educational outreach component and a research effort focusing on tribal gaming governance, economics, marketing, operations, regulatory practices and other issues.

“The tribal gaming industry is significantly understudied. Much gaming-related research does not apply well to tribal situations and does not account for their specialized characteristics,” Winston said.

Winston said the program is expected to enroll its first tribal gaming emphasis students in the fall of 2006. Once the program is fully developed, about 20 students a year are expected to graduate from the program.

About Sycuan: Members of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation have resided in and around the foothills of the Dehesa Valley for nearly 12,000 years.  Today they are a modern government providing public services to their members, employees and neighbors.  The Sycuan Tribal Government operates one of the region’s premier Indian gaming and resort facilities, the Sycuan Resort and Casino, as well as hotels and other hospitality industry properties employing nearly 4,000 San Diegans. For more information, log on to

About San Diego State University: San Diego State University is the oldest and largest institution of higher education in the San Diego region.  Founded in 1897, SDSU offers bachelor's degrees in 81 areas, master's degrees in 72 and doctorates in 16.  SDSU's nearly 33,000 students participate in academic curricula distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares students for a global future. For more information, log on to


Renee Haines
San Diego State Media Relations
Tel: (619) 594-4298

Adam Day
Assistant Sycuan Tribal Manager

Also See: Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians Acquires the Historic U.S. Grant Hotel from Wyndham International; Names American Properties Management Corp. Operator / December 2003
Southern California Tribal Resort Casinos Will Likely Tap into Nevada Gaming Revenues / August 2003

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