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Thursday, January 20, 2022

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L. Robert "Bob" Payne L. Robert "Bob" Payne

Gift Transforms Hospitality and Tourism Management

The school's new namesake and long-time benefactor, L. Robert Payne, is a supporter of SDSU.

San Diego State University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) will be renamed the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University, thanks to a significant gift from the L. Robert Payne and Patricia L. Payne Family Foundation. The gift is expected to be the catalyst for an eventual $8.5 million endowment for the school.

Joyce Gattas, dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, and Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president of SDSU’s University Relations and Development division, formally announced the gift at a naming ceremony today, citing Payne’s long-time support for SDSU and HTM specifically.

“Bob and Patty Payne are visionary alumni who have continually challenged us to raise the bar of excellence at San Diego State,” Carleton said.

“They encouraged us to create a world-class school of hospitality and tourism management, and we did that. And now they are providing the catalyst to take this school to a new level.”   

Long-time support for SDSU

Payne is making a new $2.4 million gift to HTM. Combined with a previous $1.1 million investment which originally launched the program in 1999, and in recognition of his long-term support, the school is being named in his honor. Payne was also a major contributor to SDSU’s Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, which opened in October 2009.

“Bob is a known and respected leader in our industry,” said HTM Director Carl Winston. “He has already opened many doors for our students. But now when they go out in the world and meet with people in the industry, they will have that extra credibility of Bob Payne’s name on their resume. It’s very meaningful.”

Payne’s initial investment in HTM challenged the university to develop a public-private partnership to create a nationally competitive hospitality program. The program now enjoys both national and international notoriety, and, with Payne’s vision and leadership, has raised an additional $17.2 million in philanthropic commitments since its inception.

About the Payne School

More than 400 HTM alumni are currently making their mark in the hospitality industry and thousands more will follow in their footsteps.  

“SDSU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management has been one of the most sought-after schools on campus since we first opened the doors,” Gattas said.

“And no fewer than 100 percent of the school’s graduates have found employment in their chosen industry. They are all the testament of Bob’s commitment to the future of the hospitality industry and to his alma mater.”

A gift for the future

SDSU has agreed to direct proceeds from the SDSU master plan’s university hotel project toward the endowment with a total additional contribution of $5 million.

The endowment will eventually support two new faculty positions, underwrite a portion of the director's position and create a Director's Fund for discretionary projects and operations, including supplies, travel, equipment and student support. 

This fund will be a critical tool to maintaining the Payne School's commitment to its students. This is the second school at SDSU to be named in the university’s 113-year history. The other is the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy.