New Mexico State University alumnus Danny Villanueva, a former NFL football star and Spanish language television pioneer who now heads a venture capital firm, made a gift of $250,000 towards the building of the third floor of the Fulton Athletics Center.
The Fulton Athletics Center, a four-level, 44,000-square-foot addition to the south end of Aggie Memorial Stadium, serves as the beacon of Athletic academic, training, leadership, and donor stewardship. Villanueva's $250,000 gift funded the construction and décor of the third floor, which is 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.
The $250,000 donation to the Villanueva Victory Club project was announced in October 2002.
"Words cannot express what Danny Villanueva and his family mean to not only the university, but especially NMUS Intercollegiate Athletics," NMSU Intercollegiate Athletic Director Dr. McKinley Boston said. "He represents the best of our alumni and set an example to which we want all our student-athletes to aspire. Danny's vision of giving and support has had a major impact on our ability to fund the Journey to Excellence."
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.