Tom and Vi Zapara are a couple who have for many years shown an extraordinary belief in La Sierra University’s School of Business. And now this couple has taken a major step in tangibly expressing their continuing support as we begin this building process.
Thomas and Vi, both alumni of La Sierra University, have been living examples of the visionary business leaders educated at La Sierra University. Early in his career, Tom established Zee Medical, Inc., in 1952. Tom gave his nickname—“Zee”—to the fledgling company. His first corporate headquarters was his home’s garage. The Zaparas persevered though, and the company grew until it served more than 400,000 manufacturing plants, construction firms, restaurants, hotels, offices and other firms in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, providing occupational first aid and safety products, training, and services. The Zaparas sold the company 30 years later.
The Zaparas have long possessed an extraordinary vision for the potential of Adventist education. They regularly back that commitment through their generous philanthropic support. Today, Tom and Vi are tangibly demonstrating their special devotion to helping La Sierra University be all that it can be by making a major commitment to the new business building. By acting at this time, this generous couple is making a key investment in La Sierra University to help fulfill its potential.
“Vi and I have dreamed about this new business school building for the last few years and we’re just delighted that God has blessed it…God has a great plan for that school. The challenge is for us to tune in for what God has in mind.”
The Zaparas decided to contribute to the business school’s advancement largely because of the precedent-setting success of its SIFE team. Based in the School of Business and comprised of students from various academic majors, the team has won six national trophies and two world cups in annual SIFE competitions, making the team one of the most successful and prominent in the global SIFE organization.
“We’ve been so impressed with the La Sierra business school SIFE team over the years…SIFE put La Sierra on the map. SIFE is still a very key component of that school. It became so obvious, if this [business school] is going to progress, they need more space.”
And they offer their support as an inspiration to other friends of the School of Business to participate in this important project. It’s their fondest hope that as we move forward with this construction, their gift will inspire the generosity and vision of others who believe in the mission of the School of Business.