Alumni Pledge $2.5M to Scholarships

Jim and Janet Sinegal's gift will support foster students, veterans and future educators.

Monday, May 9, 2011
The Costco CEO and his wife have a history of giving to SDSU.
The Costco CEO and his wife have a history of giving to SDSU.

SDSU alumni Jim and Janet Sinegal have pledged $2.5 million to support scholarships for San Diego State University students, it was announced today.

Jim Sinegal is co-founder and CEO of Costco. Janet is a philanthropist whose work has focused on the education field.

“We believe in the power of education and what better way to support the university than to provide educational opportunities for the students directly,” said Janet Sinegal, who earned her bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from SDSU.

The couple, who met as undergrads, has asked that their donation be used to support SDSU students in three areas: 

  • $1 million to support SDSU’s Guardian Scholars program, which helps students exiting the foster care system by providing a comprehensive, holistic support program to help them achieve the goal of a college degree.
  • $1 million toward the Janet Sinegal Scholarship Endowment in the SDSU College of Education which provides scholarships to students who aspire to become teachers.
  • $500,000 to support student veterans. SDSU, one of the nation’s most military friendly campuses, is home to more than 1,200 student veterans, reservists and active-duty military.

Scholarships 'Fuel Potential'

The Sinegals’ gift brings the total amount contributed to SDSU’s “Fuel Potential” scholarship campaign to nearly $30 million. The campaign was established to provide additional financial support in light of increasing need by SDSU students. 

“Jim and Janet have demonstrated time and again their commitment to SDSU and to students from underserved populations,” said SDSU President Stephen Weber. “The Sinegals are an excellent example of people who recognize their own good fortune and understand the importance of giving back.”

History of giving

This is not the first time the Sinegals have given to SDSU. The Janet Sinegal Scholarship Endowment was created in 2009 with a nearly $300,000 donation by Jim Sinegal in honor of his wife.  

In 2003, the couple also pledged $250,000 to create the Jim and Janet Scholarship to support students working on their teaching credential. The Sinegals continued the scholarship in 2008 with a new pledge of $250,000 over five years. 

About Jim & Janet Sinegal

Jim Sinegal is an alumnus of SDSU’s College of Business Administration and received an honorary doctorate in 1999. During his days at SDSU, Sinegal worked as a warehouseman and shipping clerk for Sol Price’s Fed-Mart.

In 1976, Sol Price founded Price Club, and two years later Sinegal rose to the position of executive vice president. In 1983, Sinegal co-founded Costco with Jeffrey Brotman, and 10 years later, Costco merged with Sinegal’s former employer.

Sinegal was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2006 and ranked No. 9 on Forbes magazine’s annual CEO list in 2005. Jim is a founding member of SDSU’s Campanile Foundation board of directors and is also a currently on the board of advisors for SDSU’s College of Business Administration.

Janet Dwyer Sinegal
graduated from SDSU’s College of Business Administration and received her teaching credential from SDSU in 1962.

She is active in the field of education and a variety of educational causes. Founder of the Friends of Costco Guild, Janet hosts an annual golf tournament for Seattle Children’s Hospital which has generated more than $46 million.

She is also a trustee in Seattle Children's Hospital's Guild Association, foundation and hospital boards where the Janet Sinegal Patient Care Building is named in her honor. Sinegal’s endeavors also include support for The Foundation for Early Learning, the YWCA, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and many other organizations focusing on the health and well-being of children.

Both Jim and Janet are recipients of SDSU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award, commonly known as the “Monty,” given to distinguished SDSU alumni. The couple also co-chairs SDSU’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign that launches publicly this fall.

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