- Hae Park
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
When Hae Park was a student at Cal Poly Pomona, the South Korean immigrant was struggling academically and with English. He even contemplated dropping out. But he found a mentor in Donald Lundberg, the founding professor of what is now The Collins College of Hospitality Management. With Dr. Lundberg's encouragement, Mr. Park went on to graduate in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management, and later earned a master's degree in business administration in 1984.
Although he started in the hospitality industry, Mr. Park became an entrepreneur, earning real estate and broker's licenses, arranging deals and investing in properties. The Park family owns and operates Bel-Air Swap-Meet in Fontana and Pro-Swap-Meet in San Bernardino. Today, Mr. Park is the epitome of the American Dream. But he has never forgotten how Dr. Lundberg helped him succeed. Mr. Park has committed himself to the success of future generations of students. As he put it simply yet eloquently, "It's now time to invest in whoever needs our help and support." In 2004, Mr. Park gave $1 million in Dr. Lundberg's memory to establish The Collins College Alumni Office, which strengthens the bonds between the college and its graduates and inspires others to support student programs and college initiatives.
Mr. Park and his wife, Shina, have provided athletic scholarships and supported the Harvest Auction, the Southern California Tasting & Auction, the Bronco Golf Classic and the Founders' Celebration. They made a second $1 million gift on behalf of university President J. Michael Ortiz and his wife, Betty's, lifelong commitment to faculty. In 2010, the Park family gave another $1 million to support the college's new 15,000-squarefoot expansion project. All $3 million in contributions were matched by Carol and Jim Collins.
Hae Park's generosity extends well beyond the university and includes support of Fontana's Cultural Arts Program and Teen Fest, as well as various educational programs in the community. Mr. Park also has been providing more than 500 free parking spaces for the students of San Bernardino Valley College since 2004. He has passed on his generous personality to his two children, Eugene and Eunice, who are perhaps his greatest gifts. Like their father, they are Cal Poly Pomona alumni who have been generous benefactors.
In recognition of his business achievements and his selfless philanthropic work to support educational causes, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona are proud to confer upon Hae Park the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.