San Jose State Receives $15 Million Gift Commitment from South Bay Philanthropist Lupe Diaz Compean

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748,

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic).

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

SAN JOSE, CA–San Jose State is pleased to announce that it has received a $15 million gift commitment from South Bay resident and friend of the university Lupe Diaz Compean. The gift will support student success initiatives and scholarships. In addition, the gift will support the maintenance of SJSU’s newly renovated and expanded Student Union, and the many activities housed in this structure located in the heart of campus.

“Lupe Diaz Compean’s remarkable generosity will enable San Jose State to make meaningful, sustained investments in student success initiatives, scholarships and student programming,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “Mrs. Compean did not graduate from college, but she and her late husband recognized the value of a college education for all and exemplified that a fulfilling life is within reach of everyone who works hard to achieve their dreams. San Jose State is pleased to recognize and honor the extraordinary work and generosity of donors who are making an enduring impact on our university and community.”

The building will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union in honor of Mrs. Compean and her late husband, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees at its March 8-9 meeting in Long Beach, Calif. President Martin and Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning will represent SJSU at the meeting.

“San Jose State has been in conversation with the Compeans for the past two decades,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “Throughout this time, Lupe Diaz Compean has been crystal clear that her motivation in making the gift was to benefit students, honor her family and her late husband by naming a facility, and demonstrating that by working hard and getting an education, anyone can achieve what she has in her lifetime.”


Photo: David Schmitz

Student Union interior (Photo: David Schmitz).

The gift will be used to create the following endowment funds:

  • A Student Success Fund to support initiatives that foster student success and increase retention and graduation rates.
  • Three scholarship endowments to support emancipated foster youths, California Dream Act students, and a merit scholarship for high-performing students.
  • A Student Union Programming Fund to provide support for visiting lectures, art exhibits, workshops and other student-focused special events and programming.
  • A Student Union Operating Fund that will provide resources for ongoing maintenance and operating needs of the facility.

Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Lupe Diaz was born in 1926 in Edinburg, Texas and was the oldest in a family of 10 children. In 1955, she married Ramiro Compean, who was born in Reynosa, Mexico, in 1932. He was one of seven children in his family. Mr. Compean passed away in August 2002.

In 1956, one year after they were married, the Compeans moved to San Jose. Mr. Compean worked for George Day Construction building houses in Saratoga. Mrs. Compean attended school and helped her husband in the business. They saved their money and soon were able to purchase a home in Almaden Valley. They continued to buy properties as they were able. Mrs. Compean, at age 89, is still actively managing the properties she owns.

Mrs. Compean is not a graduate of SJSU, but believes very strongly in the mission of the institution and the importance of education. She first approached SJSU regarding making a gift in the mid-1990s. She and her husband had heard that SJSU had a good Mexican American Studies Department and wanted to contribute. Eventually, those conversations turned to the possibility of including the university in their estate. Following Mr. Compean’s death in 2002, Mrs. Compean continued the conversation with University Advancement and indicated that SJSU would be a beneficiary of half her estate.

In 2012, Mrs. Compean and her certified public accountant, Anne Lee of Bauerle, Lee and Associates, LLP, approached the university to explore how Mrs. Compean might experience the impact of her legacy while she was still alive. Over the course of the next three years, discussions continued regarding the use of the gift and how the gift would be structured. In December 2015, Mrs. Compean finalized the gift agreement.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.