in partnership with


In his “Revisionist History” podcast series, Malcolm Gladwell challenges us to think about educational philanthropy from a different perspective.  He reminded us that in the early ‘90s, Hank Rowan gave $100 million to a tiny public university in Glassboro, New Jersey: not Harvard, not Yale, not his alma mater, MIT.  Then Gladwell asks the question, “What was [he] thinking?  And why has it proven so difficult for other philanthropists to follow his lead?”  For Gladwell, Rowan was a “hero”, and he wonders if the rest of us might agree.  He suggests we might want to change the game of educational philanthropy by experimenting with a tiny perceptual shift that could have a big impact in the lives of a lot of people.  

Developing an ability to perceive groups as complex adaptive systems and how individuals impact (and are impacted by) them is the goal of a methodology known as Group Relations.  Group Relations conferences are high impact experiential learning laboratories that provide a space for science and subjective experience to come together in ways that are illuminating and illustrative.  Conference participants take their newly developed skills and apply them in all sorts of ways from personal/organizational development to community research and action projects to finding a voice as a global citizen.  The CSUDH Colleges of Natural and Behavioral Science and Arts and Humanities have partnered with Associated Students, Inc., the Toro Psych Club and the nonprofit Grex (the west coast affiliate of the AK Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems) to co-create a sustainable container for an annual group relations event entitled, Leadership and Creative Expression, currently in its fourth seedling year.  


As you consider your level of contribution, please note that $100 covers all registration expenses for 1 student participant.  Perhaps you will consider sponsoring several students or contributing to this community service with amounts of $300, $500 or even $1000.  Larger donations will ensure the longevity of the effort for decades to come.  We truly value your generosity and appreciate your partnership in making our long-term vision for this work a reality: CSUDH as a center of group relations innovation and community education.  Gifts of all amounts are most appreciated.

This is a fundraising effort to ensure continued Group Relations experiential learning opportunities at CSUDH, a school of about 15,000 students that is among the most ethnically-diverse universities in the United States.  This is an institution born out of the vision to serve and transform an underserved community

Gladwell makes his argument of revisioning educational philanthropy through sports – some sports like soccer are weak-link games (i.e., the team is only as good as its weakest player) and others are strong-link games like basketball.  He said that when Rowan donated 100 million dollars to a tiny public school in Jersey, he wanted to make a difference by investing in the 45% player instead of the superstar.  “[Rowan] thinks America is like soccer, not basketball,” Gladwell explained.  We think so too.

Philanthropy “makes the wheels turn” in higher education.  We ask for your support both now and in the future.

Please make your contribution to our conference in one of the following ways:  

California State University, Dominguez Hills
Office of Development; Attn: JC Bass
1000 East Victoria Street, WH 425
Carson, CA 90747

Transforming Lives That Transform America
Transforming Lives That Transform America
Group Relations
Experiential Learning Fund
February 28, 29 & March 1, 2020