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CSUSB College formally named the James R. Watson and Judy Rodriguez Watson College of Education

 

The renaming of the college is in honor of the contributions of James and Judy Watson, longtime supporters of CSUSB, and their transformative gift of $8.4 million to support student scholarships and programs, the work of the Watson & Associates Literacy Center and a Dean’s Endowment Fund


From left: Robert Nava, CSUSB vice president of University Advancement; Rafik Mohamed, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs; Judy Rodriguez Watson; James R. Watson; Evy Morales; CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales; and Chinaka DomNwachukwu, dean, Watson College of Education.


On the day the university expressed its gratitude for the generosity and support of James R. Watson and Judy Rodriguez Watson, it was James Watson who repeatedly said how grateful he and his wife were to be part of the Cal State San Bernardino community.

The university formally unveiled the renamed College of Education as the James R. Watson and Judy Rodriguez Watson College of Education on Nov. 1, in recognition of the longtime support of the Watsons and their transformative gift of $8.4 million to the college.

During the ceremony in the college’s atrium packed with university faculty, staff, administrators, local elected officials, friends and family, James Watson said, “We have enjoyed our experience here for over 20 years.

“We have been blessed more than the university has been blessed by what we have been able to provide financially and in our involvement,” he said. “It’s truly been a wonderful experience for Judy and I. We understand the value of education, and the vital role Cal State San Bernardino has in the Inland Empire in providing an affordable and world-class education.”

In naming the college after the Watsons, it becomes the second named college at CSUSB. The College of Business was renamed in 2016 to the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration to honor businessman and philanthropist Jack H. Brown.

CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales said the education college is just the fourth in the California State University named for a person, and Judy Rodriguez Watson said it was the first in the entire CSU to bear the name of a Hispanic person, which brought a standing ovation.

“Jim and Judy are no strangers to philanthropy,” Morales said. “They constantly give their time and their resources to better their communities. And their continuous support of Cal State San Bernardino has been nothing short of extraordinary.”

The Watson’s gift will support student scholarships and establish a new Center for STEM Education. The STEM Center will be the hub for outreach to K-12 students in the region and will include a Model STEM Exploratorium and a teacher residency program, Morales said. The gift will also support Project Impact, a new program in the college to recruit and prepare teachers to serve underrepresented students in public schools.

Funds will also be used to enhance the Watson & Associates Literacy Center’s efforts in the Inland Empire. The center assists students in K-12 improve their reading, listening and writing skills, and is housed in the college.

And, Morales said, it will establish the Dean’s Endowment Fund to support special projects by faculty and staff. “This Dean’s Endowed Fund is the first for our campus,” he said.

“This fall marked the public launch of Cal State San Bernardino’s $200 million, Our Defining Moment: the Campaign for CSUSB,” Morales said. “And Jim and Judy’s generous donation has made outsized impact in our progress to reaching this goal.”

Since 2003, the Watsons have been contributors to and advocates for CSUSB, in particular for the College of Education and its literacy center. Their leadership and fundraising skills sparked CSUSB to ask them to serve as co-chairs of the College of Education’s capital campaign. The Watsons enabled CSUSB to enhance the then new education building and its programs, as the campaign raised more than $3 million. The Watsons also contributed the lead gift to the campaign. In recognition, the building’s student services center was named for them. 

James “Jim” Watson worked as a real estate appraiser before launching his own company in 1972. As president and chief executive officer of J.R. Watson & Associates, a private commercial real estate firm based in Seal Beach, he has developed shopping centers, residential and master-planned mixed-use projects. Jim is a former chair of the board of the CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation (2012-2013), where he has also been a member of the executive committee and board of directors. Cal State San Bernardino awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2010.

Judy Rodriguez Watson, who serves as senior vice president alongside Jim at J.R. Watson & Associates Development Corporation, is an ardent supporter of education and the arts. Judy was born and raised in Los Angeles, but her connection to Latino culture was nurtured early in her childhood. Her father, who was born in Veracruz, Mexico, would take her mother, three sisters and her on a two-week visit each summer to cities in Mexico. Passionate about education, in 2011, Judy served as honorary chair for the Latino Education and Advocacy Days (LEAD) summit at CSUSB and was affectionately termed, “La Madrina de Honor,” or honorary godmother. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2015. 

The Watsons are also dynamic proponents of public art in San Bernardino and have been instrumental in partnering with the city to display CSUSB student art citywide. They have provided funding to the university’s Coyote Conservatory, a performance arts outreach project led by CSUSB’s theatre arts department.

 

 

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Judy Rodriguez Watson Public Art Program

In 2010, CSUSB named its four-year old public art program the Judy Rodriguez Watson Public Art Program in honor of her passion and financial support for placing art in open spaces at California State University, San Bernardino and the surrounding community. All art was created by CSUSB Art Department professors and students and is displayed publicly throughout the city of San Bernardino.

Watson & Associates Literacy Center -

Transforming Lives​

Chairman and CEO James Watson believes in giving back to the communities we build and has raised millions for various local community organizations. In addition, he believes strongly that the education of our youth is vital to transforming and enhancing communities.

Jim and Judy Watson’s unwavering belief in the importance of education and literacy prompted them to establish the Watson & Associates Literacy Center in 2004. The Watson’s generosity also extends outside the College of Education, as they are strong supporters of the arts at CSUSB. Click on the image to read Watson & Associates Endowment Impact Report >>>

Chairman and CEO James Watson believes in giving back to the communities we build and has raised millions for various local community organizations. In addition, he believes strongly that the education of our youth is vital to transforming and enhancing communities.

Jim and Judy Watson’s unwavering belief in the importance of education and literacy prompted them to establish the Watson & Associates Literacy Center in 2004. The Watson’s generosity also extends outside the College of Education, as they are strong supporters of the arts at CSUSB. Click on the image below to read Watson & Associates Endowment Impact Report

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Fine Art Donation to San Bernardino Symphony

In September, 2022 Jame R. Watson and Judy Rodriguez Watson donated 11 fine art pieces to the San Bernardino Symphony, for display in the Garcia Center for the Arts.

Recent Awards

Legacy of Exemplary Service Award (2022)

Libreria del Pueblo     

A.C.R.E. Hall of Fame (2016)

Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives

CSUSB Award (Dec. 2014)

Jim and Judy Watson were honored and recognized by President Tomás Morales and the Philanthropic Board for their ongoing leadership on CSUSB’s Philanthropic Foundation Board.

Golden Baton (2013)

The San Bernardino Symphony honored Jim and Judy Watson with their most prestigious honor, The Golden Baton, for their continuous sponsorship.

Philanthropist of the Year – AFP Inland Empire (2012)

The Inland Empire Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals presented Jim and Judy Watson with their Philanthropist of the Year award on November 15, 2012. Jim and Judy were selected due to their contributions and generosity to CSUSB and surrounding communities.

Seal Beach Symphony Patriots in the Park

Seal Beach Lions Arts & Crafts Faire

Trees For Seal Beach Foundation

  • Founding President
  • Board Member 2000 – 2003
  • Planted more than 5,000 trees and removed thousands of tons of concrete,        replacing it with grass

Seal Beach Chamber Of Commerce

  • 1984 – Present
  • Rebuild Seal Beach Pier

  • 1984 – Present
  • Seal Beach Police Officers Association

    • 1982 – Present

    CSUSB President’s Showcase

  • 2015
  • $25,000 Sponsorship level
  • Children’s Fund President’s Circle

  • 2013 to Present
  • CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation Board

  • 2011 – 2014
  • Chairman, 2012-2014
  • Foundation Board of Governors (CSUSB)

  • 2009 – 2011
  • Judy Rodriguez Watson Public Art Program

  • 2010
  • Art created by CSUSB Art Professors & Students
  • Presidents Advancement Council (CSUSB)

  • 2006 – 2009
  • Established the Watson & Associates Literacy Center

  • 2004
  • Long Beach Mounted Police Association

  • 1994 – 2000
  • Post Falls Chamber of Commerce

  • 1993 to Present
  • PCCA - Probation Community Action Association

  • Founding Chairman, 1993-1995
  • alumni board member
  • Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives

  • 1985 to Present
  • President-1988
  • Huntington Park Chamber of Commerce

  • 1985 to Present
  • Advisory Board Of The Making Hope Foundation

  • 1984 to Present
  • Friends of Kids

  • 1982 – 1995
  • Founding committee
  • International Council of Shopping Centers

  • 1968 to Present
  • Tools For Education Committee

  • Jim and Judy Co-Chairs
  • James R. Watson

    Received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2010 from CSUSB for contributions to the University and Community

    Judy Rodriguez Watson

    Received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2014 from CSUSB for contributions to the University and Community

    J.R. Watson & Associates Development Corporation
    101 Main Street, Suite A
    Seal Beach, CA 90740
    Phone (562) 430-0503 | Fax (562) 493-5860
    mjustin@jrwatson.com

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