"I wasn't always focused, but I was able to change, and that happened in college."
When Jim Sinegal was a student at what was then known as San Diego Junior
College , he and other young students looked to the just-returned Korean
War veterans for inspiration.
"These were people who had seen so much, who had been matured by
the war," Jim says. "We learned a lot by how they carried themselves."
Today, students can learn a lot from Jim, who has traveled from unfocused
student to president and CEO of Costco Wholesale Corp. He has served as
president and CEO of PriceCostco Inc., and was a founder of Costco Wholesale
Corp. in 1983.
Jim was also a vice president of merchandising for Builders Emporium,
and began his retail career in San Diego with the Fed-Mart organization.
After graduating from Helix High School in 1953, Jim attempted to attend
San Diego State University, but was advised he might be better served
attending a two-year program first.
"My test scores were good, but my grades weren't that good, because
I needed focus," Jim says. "It was at San Diego Junior College
(now City College) where I regained that focus, and paid attention, because
deep down I knew education was important."
After transferring to SDSU, Jim gained business education knowledge,
began working for Fed-Mart, and eventually met Price Club founder Sol
Price. He would go on to help found one of the great wholesale companies
in industry history, a story that continues to this day. That's one of
the reasons he was recently chosen as a Most Distinguished Alumnus by
"I've never been told I'm a most distinguished anything," Jim
He now recalls his San Diego Junior College days fondly. "It was
a fantastic time for me," says Jim, who still visits frequently.
"The college continues to play a big role in the city, and is an
asset to the community."