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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Jack McGrory received earned a master’s degree in public administration from SDSU in 1976. Jack McGrory received earned a master’s degree in public administration from SDSU in 1976.

McGrory Gift Supports Student Veterans

The popular gathering space in SDSU’s Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center will be named in Jack McGrory’s honor.
By Tobin Vaughn

A $250,000 donation to The Campaign for SDSU by alumnus Jack McGrory (’76) will provide scholarships for the university’s student veterans. This latest in a series of gifts by the Campanile Foundation’s immediate past chair brings his total campaign donations to almost $3 million.

McGrory is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. As a result of his gift, a popular gathering space known as The Bunker in San Diego State University’s Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center will be named in his honor.

Along with his recent gift to provide scholarship support to student veterans, McGrory has supported many areas at SDSU, said Mary Ruth Carleton, SDSU vice president for University Relations and Development. Carleton is also president and CEO of the Campanile Foundation.

"Jack has made gifts to our Departments of Classics and Public Affairs as well as to our athletic programs, and he knows how important this support is to public higher education," she said.

McGrory, the CEO of La Jolla MJ Management, Inc., earned a master’s degree in public administration from SDSU, where he also taught courses for 27 years.  In addition to a stint as San Diego’s city manager, his résumé includes serving as chairman and CEO of Price Legacy Corporation, chief operating officer of the San Diego Padres, manager of the Price Group and executive vice president and director of Price Charities.

Phenomenal training

Having received his military draft notice in 1971 on his last day as a Colgate University undergraduate, McGrory credits the Marines with helping to develop his leadership skills.

“We got some phenomenal training from great leaders and really good managers,” he recalled.

After four years of service as an infantry officer, he went to work for the City of San Diego. Attending classes at night, he utilized his VA Bill benefits to help pay first for a master’s degree, then a law degree.

"I ran through the whole entitlement between my two degrees,” he said. “It was a financial incentive. It helped.”

Knowing the difference a little help can make for a student veteran, McGrory believes his scholarship support is a sound investment.

“I think men and women who have military experience have discipline and they have a direction in their life,” he said. “They know where they’re going, they have good judgment, and they know what they're doing."

Thank you is not enough

On a late morning during finals week last semester, two student veterans were relaxing and studying in The Bunker. The room is furnished with comfortable chairs and sofas along with a flat-screen television.

Quinton Wimberly, a 27-year-old U.S. Navy veteran from Georgia, was using his laptop to work on a research project.

Upon learning of McGrory’s scholarship donation, Wimberly said he wanted to thank the former Marine.

“It’s very generous of him,” the third-year psychology major said. “That he decided to dedicate his gift to us is admirable, in my opinion."

In the corner of the room, 34-year-old former U.S. Navy hospital corpsman Ana Phillips was studying for a philosophy class final. She said she visits The Bunker daily because she always feels welcome in the space.

Phillips was happy to learn that her favorite space on campus would soon be named for a fellow veteran.

“He could have put his money anywhere, but it speaks volumes that he cared enough to invest in his community,” she said. "Thank you is not enough, but those are the only words I have in my vocabulary at this time to express my appreciation.”

In 2011 and 2013, McGrory made individual gifts of $1.2 million to The Campaign for SDSU, which was launched in 2007 to create new opportunities for student success and to help SDSU continue to develop as a leading public research university. To date, the campaign has received more than 192,486 gifts from alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents and community partners, including 131 gifts of $1 million or more.