News Feature

October 23, 2015
By Ben Moraga (

Insurance Company Donates $41,000 Gift to Benefit Actuarial Science Students

Wawanesa logo


Wawanesa Insurance is funding student scholarships with a donation to SDSU’s College of Sciences.

San Diego State University’s College of Sciences has received a $41,000 donation from Wawanesa Insurance. The gift will go toward scholarships to support students majoring in statistics with an emphasis in actuarial science. David Fitzgibbons (’79), Wawanesa’s retiring vice president of U.S. operations and Leo Morales (’09), the company’s marketing manager of U.S. operations, presented the check to SDSU October 6 in the Allan Bailey Library of the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. College of Sciences Development Director Stacy Carota accepted the gift on behalf of the university.

“Scholarships are a key element in student success financing not only tuition, fees and books, but also enrichment opportunities, such as internships and study abroad experiences,” Carota said. “Support for students is essential to growing our programs and recruiting the best and brightest students.”


The emphasis in actuarial science is designed to prepare students for careers in the actuarial profession, applying probability and statistical models to problems of insurance and finance. That’s why the academic requirements of the scholarships align with the needs of the insurance industry.

“We need people with statistical backgrounds and mathematical backgrounds going forward for data analytics,” said Fitzgibbons, pointing out that his experience as a business student at SDSU helped prepare him for his 35-year career at Wawanesa. “I thought the rigorous academic program here at San Diego State was a key for me going forward."

He added that there are many Aztec alumni working at Wawanesa’s U.S. operations headquarters in San Diego. He said many part-time employees, too, are SDSU students working their way through school.

“So there's a strong connection between the campus here and Wawanesa,” Fitzgibbons said. “This (donation) helps solidify that. It's us giving back because we've gotten so much (from the university)."


Morales, who currently serves as vice president of alumni engagement on the executive committee for the Alumni Board of Advisors, said his company is dedicated to helping students make the transition from college to their careers. He said that is why scholarships funded by Wawanesa will go to upper division students preparing to launch careers.

"The transition from being a college graduate and getting into the professional field can be rocky,” he said. “We want to be able to help as many students as possible."

Individual scholarships will be valued between $1,500 and $2,500. All of the Wawanesa donation will be distributed within a three year period.

For more information about corporate donations to SDSU, contact Ben Moraga (619) 594-3490 or

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