Man of Action

Photo of outgoing USD board chair Ron L. Fowler


During his 20 years as a member of its Board of Trustees, including the past six as chairman, Ron L. Fowler’s influence has shaped USD’s past, present and future.

Fowler, the executive chairman of the San Diego Padres baseball team and chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments, Inc., has been influential on matters ranging from financial oversight of the university to developing a cohesive vision for Torero athletics, academic affairs and student life. Fowler’s time as chairman has been visibly positive on a national level, evidenced by USD’s highest-ever overall ranking among the nation’s top 100 universities by U.S. News & World Report.

On June 30, Fowler stepped down as chairman, succeeded by Donald R. Knauss, a USD trustee since 2008 and former chairman and CEO of the Clorox Corporation.

Fowler, who remains as a trustee, has championed much of USD’s institutional growth. Some prime examples include USD’s designation as a Ashoka U Changemaker Campus; the development of an Office of Undergraduate Research; creation of the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering; his generous lead gift for a state-of-the-art ballpark, Fowler Park; a Veterans Center; the Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice, and Simulation and a perennially top-ranked study abroad program and a permanent academic facility in Madrid and In 2015, Fowler led a national search and selection of new USD President James T. Harris III, DEd; and, in February, Fowler publicly helped to launch USD’s $300 million fundraising effort, Leading Change: The Campaign for USD.

“Ron Fowler is a model of ethical leadership, responsible citizenship and compassionate service, which are the qualities USD aspires to instill in all of its graduates,” says President Harris. “Mr. Fowler has given with extraordinary generosity of his time, talent and treasure to the University of San Diego in particular, and to the wider San Diego community. His balance of career and community focus is a model of excellence for our students.”

In May, Fowler gave the Commencement address to USD’s undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences’ Class of 2016, providing life advice that stressed the importance of giving back to others to make the biggest difference.

School of Law Dean Stephen Ferruolo says that Fowler’s leadership is a blessing for USD. “Ron’s service on the USD Board of Trustees has been exemplary of his lifelong commitment to the San Diego community. During the five years I have worked with him, Ron has impressed me as a conscientious and especially capable board chairman, fully aware of the delicate and sometimes difficult role of trustees to provide leadership and oversight consistent with the university’s mission while respecting the important principles of academic freedom and shared governance.” — Ryan T. Blystone


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