The philanthropic work of Duane Isetti, a graduate of the University of the Pacific, has touched countless people throughout San Joaquin County and beyond.
His service to others has been so broad that in December 2018, he was named the 65th Stocktonian of the Year. The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce will officially give the award to Isetti at a Feb. 13 ceremony at the Stockton Golf and Country Club.
“You don’t do service to expect things in return,” Isetti said of the award. “That’s not the motivation. And, so, for me, it is just the most humbling experience that I’ve ever had. And I can tell you, I was fortunate enough to have a few awards in my lifetime and being inducted in a couple of halls of fame here and there along the road, but this award tops them all.”
Isetti, a Saint Mary’s High School graduate, came to Pacific on a football scholarship and earned his bachelor’s degree before receiving a fellowship that allowed him to get his master’s here. Neither of Isetti’s parents had a high school education, but they made sure that Isetti and his brothers, Don and Ron, all attended Saint Mary’s and Pacific. Duane Isetti’s son, Derek ‘08, continued the family tradition at Pacific. He earned a master’s in speech-language pathology and is now an assistant professor in the same program.
“As I got older, I came to realize … he has really made such an impact on so many people in the community,” said Derek Isetti. “So, I think I realized early on just how many people my dad knew in this community, but also how many lives he affected.”
After graduating from Pacific, Duane Isetti taught at his former high school for 15 years and was the school’s football coach and athletics director. He then returned to Pacific where he worked in planned giving and was director of the Pacific Athletic Foundation. He helped create the Orange and Black Ball fundraiser for Athletics, an annual tradition that continues today.
About 10 years ago, he helped to found his “pride and joy,” the Community Foundation of San Joaquin, which works to help make philanthropic giving in the region as effective as possible.