Monday, November 9, 2009
Alums, it's Time to Come Home
New Parma Payne Goodall Center burnishes Aztec Pride
Be it ever so striking, there’s no place quite like the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. The new campus home to SDSU’s more than 200,000 alumni is now complete with its grand opening set for Saturday, Oct. 17.
After decades as a dream and more than eight years in the works, the elegant 30,000-square-foot facility stands ready to welcome visitors at its 55th Street location. The new headquarters of the SDSU Alumni Association is expected to serve as both a gathering place and a gateway to campus for alumni and the San Diego community.
“The university and its alumni are such an integral part of this community,” said Jim Herrick, executive director of the SDSU Alumni Association. “We hope everyone will think of this as a place to celebrate the important events of their lives with family and friends."
The three amigos
In fact, a celebration of friendship is what put fundraising for the $11 million center over the top. Longtime friends Leon Parma, ’51, Bob Payne, ’55, and Jack Goodall, ’60, together contributed $2.7 million to name the new facility. Known around San Diego as “the three amigos,” Parma, Payne and Goodall are steadfast in their support for SDSU.
The three attended the center’s groundbreaking in March 2008, when Payne called the new building a “catalyst that sets the new era for the university.” They are also scheduled to attend the grand opening along with a crowd expected to number at least 500. The event, which precedes the Aztecs’ homecoming football game with Brigham Young University, will feature an open house for the general public.
Outside, the building’s most imposing feature is its rotunda, a Stonehenge-like structure designed to echo the architecture of Viejas Arena, just across the street. At the rotunda’s center rests a replica of sculptor Donal Hord’s iconic 1937 creation, “Aztec,” a statue nicknamed early on and instantly recognizable to generations of San Diego State students as Monty.
From the sculpture’s base extend rows of stone pavers set in six lines and resembling the spokes of a wheel. Each of the more than 480 stones bears the name and message of an Aztec alum or friend.
Inside, visitors will be greeted by an expansive lobby sporting a prominent exposition of the center’s major donors. Other displays showcase historical elements from the university such as Daily Aztec headlines and campus photos dating back to SDSU’s founding in 1897.
The Allan Bailey Library—named for the late SDSU professor, administrator, and alumnus—will contain works by Aztec authors and provide a comfortable gathering place for guests. A grand ballroom with space for 214 will serve as the center’s main location for events.
It’s a building San Diego State alumni can be proud of and they may also take pride in the fact that its construction was overseen by one of their own. Steve Nelson, ’96, of Midwest General Inc., served as construction manager for the project.
“I’ve been involved with this building since 2001,” he said. “From looking at it on paper all these years I knew it would be nice, but now that I see it, the quality is top-notch. This building is first-class.”
For Aztec alumni everywhere, it’s the perfect place to come home to.