Jan and Jim Sinegal are a couple of Aztecs to write home about. If there were an Alumni Hall of Fame they would be inaugural members. Come to think of it there is an Alumni Hall of Fame for SDSU. It’s called the Montys. Last week Jan was in town because she won one and will be properly feted on March 29, 2008 at the 38th annual Montys at the Marriott Hotel and Marina.
So while Jan was being interviewed and videoed about her difference-making involvement in granting scholarships to future Aztec alumni, Jim sat on a concrete planter in front of the Athletics building returning phone calls and answering emails. As the president of Costco, idle time is not an option for Jim Sinegal.
As alumni director, I enjoyed golf-cart chauffeuring and being a part of the subsequent conversation with Jan, Jim, President Weber, Vice President Carleton and Education Dean Rick Hovda.
Steve asked Jim about Sol Price, founder of Price Club and a mentor to Jim. “I go to lunch with Sol every few months, Jim said. He is 90 and still as sharp as ever. He treats me as if I am still an 18 year old shelf stocker.”
The irony here is that Jim is the CEO of one of the world’s greatest retail operations. As one of Time Magazine’s “2006 Top 100 Most Influential People” you would think he might project something other than immodest humility.
But he doesn’t. Steve and Jim talked about Sol Price. The president stated that Sol once told him that he would best serve SDSU by being a harsh critic. He may have been, but the result of Sol’s vision and SDSU’s talent was what Dr. Weber characterized as the “most important thing the university has ever done.” He was talking about the City Heights project where State took over the management of Rosa Parks Elementary, Monroe Clark Middle and Hoover High School. In fact, the Sinegals are using the model at Seattle University.
Hearing Steve and Jim talk about the visionary Sol Price fueled some more of my Aztec pride. Sol Price, Jim Sinegal and Jan Sinegal are the type of people who tackle monumental social challenges. Through their experience, creative problem solving and extreme generosity they actually improve our world.
Just the type of Aztecs you’d want to write home about.