Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:00 AM

Fresno State students try at world record helps neuroscience patients

Marketing students at California State University, Fresno applied concepts learned in the classroom to events they hoped would earn spots in the “Guinness Book of World Records” – and they raised money for Community Regional Medical Center’s neuroscience institute.

Every year, senior marketing students take on a project that attempts to break a world record. This year it was for the largest water balloon fight – a record held by Brigham Young University with 3,000. There was no charge, but participants were asked to donate to the Dan Brown Legacy Fund, established in memory of the late Fresno State football defensive coordinator who died of a brain tumor. The Fund aids the Central California Neuroscience Institute on the Community Regional campus. Students helped raise $7,100.

The goal on April 15 was to attract as many people as possible to the Save Mart Center parking lot to break the record for the biggest water balloon fight. They missed the mark when some in the crowd jumped the gun and started throwing water balloons early and when others failed to register their presence at the gate.

To help with publicity, three former Bulldog football players now in the National Football League joined the crowd: quarterback David Carr of the San Francisco 49ers, quarterback Tom Brandstater of the Miami Dolphins and Tyler Clutts of the Cleveland Browns.

Vincent Ricchiuti, who head’s volunteer group Encore at Community, called the students “rock stars” for their monumental efforts on behalf of spine and brain patients in the Valley. Ricchiuti helped form a group of young professionals called Encore to help Community Medical Centers' foundation raise funds. They reached a $225,000 milestone during football season with all funds going to the Dan Brown Legacy Fund.

“I haven’t heard the final numbers on what was raised by Fresno State, but I got a text that it was more than $7,000,” Ricchuiti said. Students sold donated tee shirts for $5 apiece and asked for donations at the gate. “We’re very honored to be the recipients. I just think it’s very cool that the students at the university saw the value in connecting with the local hospital and helping Valley families stay close to home for this crucial medical care.”

Crowds, at what was expected to be the biggest ever water balloon fight, mug for cameras.

In announcing the start of the Dan Brown Legacy Fund’s establishment, Fresno State Football Coach Pat Hill urged others to help in building the new program. “We have an opportunity to save some lives here in Fresno,” Hill said. “You don’t have to go elsewhere. I’ve said for my 14 years here that we don’t have to take a backseat to anybody and this hospital is once again proving it.”

To learn more about the Dan Brown Legacy Fund call Community Medical Foundation at (559) 459-2670 or visit

Erin Kennedy reported this story with Fresno State’s University Communications news intern Christy Patron contributing. They can be reached at