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From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

SJSU held a reception Sept. 10 to thank Don and Sally Lucas, who have been lifelong supporters of the college.

Don and Sally Lucas spent a lifetime giving to San Jose State. Now San Jose State is giving back. The couple joined Dean David Steele, President Mohammad Qayoumi, many more dignitaries, students, faculty and staff Sept. 10 to celebrate the naming of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

Students streaming in and out of classes in the Business Tower and Boccardo Business Center stopped to listen as speakers thanked Don and Sally Lucas, who graduated in the late 1950s from SJSU with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and primary education, respectively. The Lucases were the first donors to make a major gift to the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, which eventually raised more than $200 million for SJSU.

“To be the first is not easy,” President Qayoumi said, thanking the couple for their “faith in the intangible power of philanthropy.” Dean Steele noted private giving supports programs that distinguish the college, which has maintained its “gold standard” accreditation for nearly a half century.

Displaying a deep sense of modesty reflecting his rise from humble beginnings, Don Lucas said, “giving is a basic human need, like eating and sleeping” and then thanked SJSU for providing the foundation that allowed him to complete his education, experience early success as a car salesman and then build on that to the point when he could give back.

As implied by recent graduate Jasmine Rezai, who spoke at the Lucas event, it’s tough to know when you’re a busy student just how much is going on to ensure support is in place for the programs that make the college exceptional.

This was certainly true at the Jack Holland Student Success Center. As dignitaries prepared to continue the festivities by celebrating the opening of the center — named for a much loved late faculty member and funded in part by donors — students, tutors and academic advisers had already filled every available seat, working away and laying the foundation for the next generation of Spartan supporters.