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Danny Villanueva contributes $250,000 to Stadium Annex

New Mexico State University alumnus Danny Villanueva, a former NFL football star and Spanish language television pioneer who now heads a venture capital firm, today (Tuesday, Oct. 8) presented a gift of $250,000 towards the university's Stadium Annex project.

dium Annex, a four-level, 44,000-square-foot addition to the south end of Aggie Memorial Stadium, will serve academic as well as athletic purposes. Villanueva's $250,000 gift will fund a large dining facility that will be called the Villanueva Victory Club.

Villanueva, a 1961 graduate of NMSU, played for the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys before beginning a career in broadcasting. He was a founder of the Univision and Telemundo Spanish-language television networks, and now serves as chairman of Bastion Capital Corp. in California.

In 1991, Villanueva established the Danny Villanueva Scholarship Endowment to assist Hispanic students who demonstrate a record of leadership at New Mexico State. He returns to his alma mater annually for a fund-raiser to benefit the scholarship endowment.

This year's Danny Villanueva Scholarship Breakfast netted $15,000 for the endowment, which was matched by a check for an equal amount from Villanueva. The $250,000 donation to the Stadium Annex project also was announced at this morning's annual breakfast.

"Danny Villanueva for years has been a generous and enthusiastic supporter of student scholarships at New Mexico State," university President Jay Gogue said. "He has helped many students achieve their hopes and dreams. The wonderful gift he announced today will touch many more, because it will help us build a multi-purpose facility that will serve academic programs, athletic programs and other needs as well."

The $6 million Stadium Annex project will be financed with a combination of private gifts, revenue bonds and university general funds. Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino owner Stan Fulton, who provided the lead gift of $2.2 million, participated in a ceremonial ground-breaking for the project during halftime of Saturday's football game with the University of Texas at El Paso.

Scheduled for completion in September 2003, the complex will house facilities for the university's athletic training educational program and the athletic department's athletic training and sports medicine staff; joint-use academic space with classrooms, computer labs and study rooms; banquet space, meeting rooms, skyboxes and other facilities.

Villanueva's contribution "is a special gift because it comes from one of our own former student athletes," said Athletic Director Brian Faison. "In making this gift, he was thinking not only of student athletes, but of the university as a whole, because this facility will serve the entire university."

A native of Tucumcari, Villanueva came to New Mexico State University on a football scholarship and was a member of the team that won the Sun Bowl in 1959. He also was editor of the Round Up, the student newspaper.

He was a place-kicker for the Los Angeles Rams from 1960 to 1964 and for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965 to 1967.

His success on the playing field was followed by national prominence in Spanish-language broadcasting. As news director of KMEX-TV in Los Angeles, he led the station to a Peabody Award, one of broadcast journalism's highest honors. He rose through the broadcast company's ranks and was senior vice president of Spanish International Communications Corp., which owned KMEX and other stations, from 1971 until the company was acquired by Univision Holdings in 1986.

Villanueva remained with Univision until 1990, when he launched his current career, as founding partner of Bastion Capital Corp. in Los Angeles, a venture capital firm. Bastion is a partner in the Telemundo television network and other companies in the United States and Mexico.