Arrillaga thanks Chamber for Golden Acorn Award


By Chris Kenrick

In a rare public appearance, businessman and philanthropist John Arrillaga on Thursday thanked the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce for honoring him with its annual Golden Acorn Award.

"Menlo's been a great spot in my heart because I played (basketball) at the Burgess gym starting in 1960," Mr. Arrillaga told an assembled audience at the Stanford Park Hotel. "I probably scored more points in that gym than any player in its history because I retired at almost age 60."

Mr. Arrillaga is the major private donor to the city's new Arrillaga Family Gymnasium, which will hold its grand opening Oct. 16, as well as to the planned Menlo Park Gymnastics Center.

A basketball player at Stanford University in the 1950s, Mr. Arrillaga has been an active player and coach in Burgess Gym basketball programs for 30 years.

He is a major donor to Stanford University and was listed by Forbes in March as among the "World's Billionaires 2010."

He and his partner Richard Peery are major landowners and landlords in Silicon Valley.

Mr. Arrillaga headlined the awards list in the Chamber's 38th annual awards banquet.

Other honorees were:

● JobTrain (formerly OICW), a 45-year-old nonprofit that last year assisted 6,900 people through job-skills training and placement.

● Music@Menlo, an eight-year-old summer chamber music festival at Menlo School, which is preparing to launch its first winter program.

● The Rotary Club of Menlo Park Foundation, which this year awarded $114,000 in college scholarships to graduates from Menlo-Atherton, Sacred Heart, Menlo School, Eastside Prep and the East Palo Alto Academy.

● Tarlton Properties Inc., which converted what was described as "swampland" east of U.S. 101 into a successful business park.

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Like this comment
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

I was standing with John Boyle, Glen Rojas and some guy named Arrillaga, waiting for the groundbreaking at the Rosewood hotel three years ago, when Councilman Boyle turned to Mr Arrillaga and starting talking about our problem funding a new gym. Didn't give it a thought again - until word got out the next year that there was an anonymous donor for the long delayed gym project. Could it be?

When the drawings were submitted to the planning commission, I was truly impressed both as an architect and as a Menlo resident. Our town would never have been able to build this handsome brand new brick facility on our own.

I'm so pleased that John Arrillaga was honored this week. Here's to that moment at the Rosewood, and to all who brought it to life. Thank-you.

Like this comment
Posted by Smith
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm

We should thank Mr.Boyle for asking, without his connections, we would never have that kind of facility on our own. He should be the one to cut ribbons alone with Mr. Arrillaga. Not some politicians who spent their life time to block thing and then take credit for things that eventually benefited residents of Menlo Park. Jobs well done, Mr. Boyle and Glen Rojas!

Like this comment
Posted by Outside looking in
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2010 at 7:42 am

Smith: I totally agree with you!

The Council majority has a tendency to take credit for everything without actually doing the work. It's amazing that the gym got built at all, considering this was John Boyle's work (the working minority). He really puts his money where his mouth is and truly made a difference in getting this public-private partnership done for his hometown-- Menlo Park. Congratulations, John Boyle!

If Menlo Park wants to get things done in a positive way, please do not vote for the incumbents. Robinson is hot-headed, has anger managements issues, lacks discretion, and talks out of both sides of his mouth-- talk about a hypocrite and a flip-flopper. Cline is self-aggrandizing, indecisive, and clearly does not understand transparency policies that are in place to make sure govt is in check. He is not qualified to be in public office.

Vote out the incumbents! Menlo Park deserves better!

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