has announced a $17 million gift from Younes and Soraya Sarah Nazarian in support of its .
Awarded through the , the gift will support programming at and the operations of the award-winning center. In recognition of the gift, the center will be renamed the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center ("The Soraya") for the Performing Arts.
The Nazarians moved to the United States with their four children in 1979, fleeing demonstrations and the violence that preceded the Iranian Revolution. Drawing on his entrepreneurial experience in Iran — where he helped establish one of the largest importer/exporters of construction machinery and equipment in the region — Younes Nazarian became co-owner of , a specialty tool and dye manufacturer in the aerospace industry, and later became an early investor in San Diego-based ., serving on the company's board of directors. Soraya Nazarian is an internationally recognized sculptor.
The Nazarian family's support for CSUN dates to 2014 when their son, David, a Los Angeles-based businessman, philanthropist, and CSUN alumnus, made a $10 million gift that was recognized by the renaming of the university’s business school. In 2016, Younes and Soraya donated fifty laptops to deserving business students and were title sponsors of the fiftieth-anniversary celebration of the school. More recently, Soraya Sarah Nazarian created and donated an original sculpture, Unbound, that will be installed at the school.
"Through this historic and transformational gift, Younes and Soraya Nazarian are investing in the elevating power of the arts and in the artists who enlighten and inspire us all," said CSU Northridge president Dianne F. Harrison. "The Nazarians' generosity is unlike any CSUN has ever experienced. The Nazarian family has made a profound and lasting impact on CSUN and the entire region. Younes and Soraya have ensured that we can continue to deliver the finest music, dance, and theater events, engaging communities throughout Los Angeles and Southern California."