LOS ANGELES, California - In recognition of developer Sonny Astani's $17 million gift to the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, the university on Tuesday, April 21 unveiled the naming plaque for the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Viterbi School Senior Associate Dean John O'Brien, and Astani Department Chair Professor Jean-Pierre Bardet joined USC faculty, staff and students at the commemorative ceremony honoring Mr. Astani's generous donation.
"As a graduate of USC and a developer in downtown Los Angeles, I'm grateful for the opportunity to help facilitate the education of future generation of civil and environmental engineers who will play a vital role in the future of this city as well as shaping cities and landscapes around the world," said Sonny Astani, who earned his master's degree from USC in 1978.
Astani's donation to the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, which was announced in late 2007, is the largest ever to name such a department, and is the fourth department naming gift for the Viterbi School since it began its $300-million fundraising initiative in 2001.
The plaque is in Kaprielian Hall, named for the visionary USC engineer who laid the foundations for the School of Engineering's rise into the ranks for the nation's top ten schools. Both Bardet and O'Brien noted the connection in their remarks.
Astani is the founder of Astani Enterprises, Inc. and the developer of Concerto at 9th and Figueroa, the new $300 million condominium and loft project covering 100,000 feet in downtown L.A.'s South Park. Based in Beverly Hills, California, his firm has acquired, developed, constructed and managed over $1 billion of multi-family buildings and condominiums, including 5,000 apartment units managed throughout Southern California and an additional 1,800 units developed in downtown, Korea Town and Hollywood.
A native of Iran, Astani immigrated to the United States nearly 30 years ago where he began his studies at USC and earned a Master's Degree in Engineering. He serves on the board of a multitude of organizations including the Executive Committee of the Central City Association, Board of Counselors of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and The Leadership Council for USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate Development. He has been awarded with the USC Engineering School's 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award and the Industrial and Systems Engineering School's 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award.
In addition to his generous gift to the USC Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Astani's philanthropic contributions to the Skid Row Housing Trust and New Economics for Woman show his deep commitment to downtown Los Angeles that goes beyond real estate.
A resident of Pacific Palisades, Astani and his wife Jo have three children and they are part of a diverse immediate family with ties to 10 nations. His hobbies include yoga, cycling, swimming, Tai Chi and Karate, in which he holds a 2nd degree black belt. He is currently the chairman of the Tenshin-Kai Tai Chi & Karate in Culver City with branches in the U.S. and Japan.
About Astani Enterprises
Sonny Astani, chairman of Astani Enterprises, Inc. (www.astanienterprises.com) based in Beverly Hills, is helping redefine the L.A. skyline through the creation of world-class developments within the city's urban landscape. Over 25 years of experience in the Southern California real estate market have refined Astani's vision and dedication to thoughtful architecture and considered design. Astani has acquired, developed, constructed and managed over $1 billion of multi-family buildings and condominiums. Astani's condominium portfolio - Concerto, Vero and Grand - shares an elevated sense of style and architectural integrity.
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