Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal honored as first centurion


President Anthony Beebe presents Jim Sinegal with the very first Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Centennial Gala held at The Prado in Balboa Park on Sept. 8. Photo credit: Richard Lomibao

Phoenix Webb

Retired co-founder of Costco Wholesale and City College alumus Jim Sinegal was the guest of honor at the Centennial Gala on Sept. 8. The San Diego City College Foundation held the event in Balboa Park.

The San Diego City College Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to support students. Heidi Bunkowske, City College public relations officer, stated proceeds from the gala “ … benefit students, scholarships and support programs.”

City College President Anthony Beebe stated, “This foundation has been so supportive of City college students over the years awarding about $400,000 to about 400 students every year.”

The dinner began with welcoming statements from chair and vice chair of the foundation, Anna Garcia and Douglas Gray.

Gray introduced Master of ceremonies Jay Jackson who kept the crowd engaged throughout the program.

Friend of the honored guest Robert Price introduced Sinegal, who was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation.

Sinegal shared his City College experience. “I reluctantly enrolled at San Diego Junior College when it was junior college. What a fantastic experience: it was literally life-changing for me. I became a student again, I became engaged in what was going on, I made life-long friends at San Diego Junior College … that I’m still friendly with today.”

While Sinegal was at City College, the campus dynamics changed with the return of Korean War veterans. He described them as, “Very serious about school. They raised the bar for all of us who were going to school at that point.”

Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Community Engagement Felipe Monroig declared Sept. 8 as “San Diego City College Day” on behalf of Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Francine Maigue, on behalf of 80th District Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez added, “In short and sweet, thank you for getting it done. Here’s to 100 more years.c Maigue also introduced Field Representative and current City College student, Aida Castaneda.

Foundation Chair Anna Garcia announced that a $1,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to a City College student that is employed by Costco in Sinegal’s name.

Before leaving the stage amid another standing ovation, guest of honor Jim Sinegal said, “I owe it to the university … there’s just no question about it. This experience at San Diego Junior College was indeed life changing for me and I’m sure it’s been life changing for a lot of students over the years. So President Beebe and your staff and all of you. I salute you. You’re the ones doing the job. Thank you very much for being here.”

For more information about the foundation: