Sonoma State has received a charitable gift of $100,000 in honor of a professor who passed away in 1999, according to Sonoma State’s website. The large amount of money came from an alum named Paul Nussbaum, who made a connection with a professor that truly left an impact on his life.
The professor’s name was Stan Goertzen but would sometimes also be referred to as Stashu Geurtsen. He was a Psychology teacher who left his mark on many different students. The class in particular that Nussbaum took with Geurtsen was called “ Personal Awareness through Sports”. At the time of the course, Nussbaum was a tennis player at the university and this class really stuck out to him. This class really changed Nussbaum’s life, according to Sonoma State’s website. It was a topic that he realized he truly enjoyed along with him creating a friendship with a professor that he never imagined.
Nussbaum was quoted saying that he and Geurtsen grew a very close friendship and would play tennis together on regular occasions along with going on long-distance runs almost every day. The two were very similar and always had something to talk about due to their love of the same sport. Due to this friendship Nussbaum believes this is primarily why he stayed in school and wanted to be successful. He was able to graduate with a degree in Management in 1982 and was able to go onto get his masters with Geurtsen constant support.
Tragically, Nussbaum was a victim of a drive by shooting. This left him paralyzed and not sure where to go from there. Geurtsen was by his side in the hospital and helped him in any way he could in the recovery efforts, according to Sonoma State.
This showed Nussbaum that no matter what his professor would help him and it is something he is showing gratitude for as he gave the university the donation. To honor Geurtsen, Nussbaum and his family generously donated a charitable annuity to the university that will go into funding the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
CAPS is a program at Sonoma State that focuses on the mental health needs of its students. Due to this large donations, CAPS has hung up a plaque in their office honoring Professor Geurtsen.
Senior Kimberly DeCastro thinks this donation is something that can help many. “It’s incredible to see such generosity going to such a good cause. The fact that a student and a professor can share such an amazing friendship is something that Nussbaum can cherish forever. You really never know the impact the most random person can have on your life and now many will be able to get the help they need due to this.”