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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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Trio of Prominent Friends, Alumni to Give SDSU $2.7 Million for Construction of Alumni Center


San Diego State University announced today that a trio of prominent alumni have come together to pledge a $2.7 million lead gift to help the university build its first alumni center.

Jack Goodall, Leon Parma and Robert Payne - all longtime friends, business associates and co-owners of the San Diego Padres from 1990 to 1994 - stressed their enthusiasm about helping the university build a designated facility on campus that will allow SDSU's more than 200,000 alumni to re-connect with the university.

"Having an alumni center on campus will be a major breakthrough for the university," said Payne, who graduated in 1955 and now is president and CEO of Multi-Ventures, Inc., and principal owner of the Hanalei Hotel in Mission Valley. "Once you get alumni to come back on campus to see the good work of the students and faculty, good things happen."

With the trio's gift, SDSU has raised $8 million of the $11 million needed to build the alumni center. The center, to be built just west of 55 th Street between the Aztec Athletics Center and the SDSU Sports Deck, will be a 35,000-square-foot facility featuring meeting and social gathering spaces, a multi-purpose outdoor pavilion overlooking athletic fields and Tony Gwynn Stadium, and a great hall/ballroom facility with space for up to 260 guests. The university is consulting with the three on a formal name for the center.

"The alumni center will be a welcoming place where alumni and community members can gather and access the richness of San Diego State University," said Theresa Mendoza, vice president for University Advancement. "Thanks to these extraordinary friends, and to the generosity of more than 500 alumni and other donors to this project, we are very close to completing the alumni center campaign. Their challenge is now out to the rest of our friends and alumni to get us to the finish line, and I'm confident that this great news will spark more of them to help us get there quickly."

For Goodall, Parma and Payne, SDSU is just one common bond that has kept them fast friends for decades. All three were born and raised in blue-collar families. All three have been deeply involved for decades in San Diego civic and charitable organizations. All three men and their spouses have been close for decades and have made a tradition of traveling together to destinations all over the country and the world.

"We feel very blessed to be in a position to do this," said Goodall, who graduated in 1960 and worked his way up to become chairman of the board of directors for Jack in the Box, Inc. "We know that without San Diego State, we probably wouldn't be in this position. We have strong feelings in our heart for San Diego State. The decision to support the alumni center was made in about 10 minutes."

This isn't the first time Goodall, Parma and Payne have stepped forward to support their alma mater. Over the years, each has made significant contributions of time and resources to a number of university programs. All three also participated in another philanthropic milestone for SDSU - the founding of The Campanile Foundation, the university's nonprofit philanthropic organization.

"Our experiences at San Diego State helped project us into the community. They opened doors for us to be successful," said Parma , who quarterbacked the Aztec football team to its first post-World War II conference title and graduated in 1951. Parma currently is chairman of Parma Management Co. and recently retired as chairman of the board for La Jolla Capital, Inc., a holding company for Coast Distributing Co. "President (Stephen) Weber and the campus leadership really have the university moving forward. This was another opportunity for us to step up and help."

SDSU President Stephen L. Weber commended Goodall, Parma and Payne for their long legacies of support for San Diego State.

"These are outstanding individuals with amazing families," Weber said. "They are friends to each other, as well as true friends to this university and to the San Diego community."

To learn more about the SDSU Alumni Center and how to contribute to the campaign, please visit To learn more about the SDSU Alumni Association, please visit