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Phanstiel family
Left to right: daughter-in-law, Natalie; step-daughter, Julie; Howard Phanstiel; Louise Phanstiel; & step-son, Doug
March 17, 2022 |

Phanstiel Gift to Fund Last-Mile Preparation for GGU Students

This generous investment will establish The Phanstiel Professional Practice Fellows Program


SAN FRANCISCO — Golden Gate University (GGU) is excited to announce a $1.1 million gift from Louise ‘85 and Howard Phanstiel to invest in new strategic academic and institutional initiatives to support students in their last mile, launch innovative career focused programs and help elevate the University’s brand awareness. This generous philanthropic investment will provide valuable resources that enhance the efforts of GGU’s dedicated faculty and staff to ensure students are ready to complete the last mile of their academic journey—specifically, professional certification examinations in Law, Accounting, Financial Planning, Financial Analysis, and Project Management.

This generous investment will establish The Phanstiel Professional Practice Fellows Program with funding for at least 50 fellows to ensure they receive enhanced support, including covering the cost of examination fees; preparation materials and instruction for their respective professional/license exams; in-person and/or virtual coaching for learning style and test taking skills-building; and up to three months of child-care support. Phanstiel Fellows will benefit greatly from having more focused and flexible preparation time as well as being able to take advantage of Need and Promise stipends that provide up to three months of financial support to offset wages lost to facilitate full-time study.

“Our students continue to demonstrate great fortitude, persistence and resilience, particularly as they navigate the pandemic, so the investment that Louise and Howard have made is not just timely, but represents their firm belief in the enduring impact of the unique educational experience that we have provided at GGU since our founding in 1901,” said President David J. Fike.

Louise and Howard Phanstiel have a history of generous philanthropy to education and the community through their long involvement at Syracuse University, Shenandoah Valley Academy and Southampton Hospital Association.

“We have been impressed with the profound fidelity to GGU’s mission of educational access and professional preparation that Louise benefitted directly from and that we know is vital to enabling working adults to realize their personal and professional dreams,” said Louise and Howard. “The Phanstiel Fellows Program and the other initiatives we are supporting with this gift will help ensure that even more GGU students do not just graduate, but cross the finish line of passing their professional certification exams to accelerate their careers. We could not be more proud and honored to make this investment in their futures.”

“GGU responded to the heightened needs of our students because of COVID through increased flexible instruction, enhanced online support, and academic innovation, which is who we have always been, and the outcomes expected from this gift will undoubtedly benefit all of our students,” notes President Fike.

Louise received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Golden Gate University in 1985 and a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa in 2014. She is a Certified Public Accountant and served in several executive positions at Anthem, Inc., formerly WellPoint, Inc. Prior to her time at WellPoint, Louise was a partner at the international services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, formerly Coopers & Lybrand, LLP, where she specialized in insurance. She has serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Myriad Genetics, Inc. and as a member of the Board of Directors at Butterfly Network, Inc.

In addition to her extensive corporate experience, Louise is also active in non-profit organizations where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University, the RAND Corporation Health Advisory Board and the Southampton Hospital Association. She previously was on the board of directors of Cedars-Sinai Health System, one of the largest nonprofit academic medical centers in the country.

Professionally, Howard is a veteran health insurance executive, having led the successful restructuring of PacifiCare Health Systems as its president, CEO and Chairman. He retired after the 2005 PacifiCare merger with UnitedHealth Group Inc. Howard is a graduate of Syracuse University with an undergraduate degree in Political Science, and received a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Golden Gate University, a private nonprofit university in the heart of San Francisco, empowers working adults to achieve their professional goals with nationally renowned undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in accounting, law, taxation, business and related areas. Founded in 1901, GGU is a leader in online education for nearly three decades, and its evening and weekend programs offer maximum flexibility. Its law school provides students with a strong foundation in legal theory and the critical skills necessary to be a successful practitioner, and its diverse student body reflects a deep commitment to access and opportunity. GGU is accredited by the American Bar Association and the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Jenny McKeel

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