Humberto S. Lopez: Fostering Opportunity Through Generosity
The University of Arizona announced this weekend the public phase of its fundraising campaign, Fuel Wonder. The launch, coinciding with Homecoming celebrations, included the announcement of a $9 million dollar gift from Humberto (Bert) S. Lopez and his wife Czarina. Humberto Lopez is a member of the Eller College of Management Class of 1969. Since 1980, the Lopezes’ have given millions to various programs at the University of Arizona. Most recently, they gave a $9 million dollar gift to name the HSLopez School of Business Analytics at the Eller College of Management.
Stemming from his childhood, Lopez has always put hard work and dedication at the forefront of all his endeavors. At the young age of 12, his childhood came to a sudden halt when his father passed, leaving him—the oldest of six children—to take care of his mother and siblings. Lopez stepped up and began working to financially support
His perseverance continued when, after his high school counselor said he was not college material, he received his degree in accounting in 1969 from the Eller College—known then as the University of Arizona School of Business and Public Administration. Six years after his graduation, Lopez cofounded HSL Properties, now known as one of Arizona’s largest apartment and hotel owner-operated property management companies.
Lopez continues to demonstrate his hard-working attitude to this day. “I still put in 70 to 80 hours a week,” he says. “Success is not defined by becoming wealthy. You find success once you find your passion, and once you find your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Although HSL Properties has brought Lopez great success, he has never forgotten his roots. In 2004, Bert and Czarina created The H.S. Lopez Family Foundation and in 2018 bought a 301-hotel in Tucson that they converted into a homeless shelter named The H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity. Of all the millions Bert and Czarina have given to charities, the gift they are most proud of is the gift that created The Center of Opportunity. “Nothing comes close to that one,” says Lopez. “We wanted to give these people dignity, respect, love and most importantly a new life.”
Apart from establishing his company and foundation, Lopez has given many generous gifts to the place that sprang him to success—his alma mater.
His first donation to the University of Arizona in 1980 was for $1,000 given to the Arizona Health Sciences Center. Since then, he has helped establish the Endowed Chair for Excellence in Cardiovascular Research at the Sarver Center in the College of Medicine, the Dhaliwal-HSLopez Chair in Accounting at the Eller College, the College of Medicine Dean’s Chair under the name of their daughter, Iovanna C. Lopez and his most recent donation to the Eller College’s School of Business Analytics.
When asked he felt it was important to create the school of business analytics Lopez said: “We all use business analytics. I use business analytics in my company every day. I don’t care what business it is, business analytics is important. By combining accounting and business analytics, students with this experience will be able to go up the pay scale immediately.”
“We at Eller and the entire University of Arizona Wildcat family are indebted to Bert and Czarina,” says Karthik Kannan, dean and Halle Chair in Leadership in Eller College of Management. “We are grateful for their generous donations of both time and money that allow us to further develop tools and resources for our Eller students.”
When asked what inspires him to give, Lopez—who admits he is still a penny pincher and clips coupons—goes back to his youth. “There’s nothing I’m lacking. I’ve been a giver all my life, it’s ingrained in me,” he says. “I grew up on welfare, we were happy because we were given help.” The HSLopez School of Business Analytics will enhance business analytics education through faculty and research endowments, and a program endowment.