Terry Rhodes credits much of his success in life to tennis, clearly recognizing that the sport opened doors leading to a prosperous career as a real estate transactional lawyer for more than three decades.
Because of his passion for tennis and connection to CSULB as a student, graduate and tennis player, Rhodes pledged a $1.25 million gift for the construction of a campus tennis facility and establishment of an endowed scholarship fund for tennis players. Of the gift, $250,000 will go toward the facility and $1 million for the endowment.
“Tennis has been very good to me and gave me opportunities for employment,” said Rhodes, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business from CSULB in 1962.
An insightful person, Rhodes determined that the state of California had been very generous to him, providing his pre-collegiate and collegiate education, along with the opportunity to continue on for his law degree, which he received from UCLA in 1968.
“The recreational and social contacts I made through tennis benefited me my entire life,” Rhodes shared. “I hold a major appreciation for what the state of California has given me and this is one way to give something back. I told my children I was going to do something for education, but I didn’t know when or how. Then, I received one of those proverbial letters and I responded. There was the opportunity to match my desire to support public education and link it to my passion for tennis. It was just one of those synchronistic events.”
Rhodes, 67, quit playing tennis altogether eight years ago, shifting his focus to another passion—marathon running— which he took up in 1995. Though he still loved tennis, he simply didn’t feel he could do both sports at the level to which he was accustomed. So, at the age of 55, he ran his first marathon in Los Angeles and has since run 25 others.
“When I received my business degree with a specialty in accounting and was accepted to UCLA Law School,” said Rhodes, “I remember looking at the portfolio of entering students and seeing all of these students from the likes of Michigan, Purdue, UC Berkeley and UCLA, with all of these accolades and I said, ‘What in the world is an accounting major from Long Beach State doing here?’ I felt I was underprepared, but I performed well and when I look back, I realize Long Beach State gave me the solid education I could then apply through law school and beyond. Not only was I given the opportunity to get a good education, but the business department provided me with real fundamentals I could use.”
–– Shayne Schroeder
Les and Cindy Robbins, along with her brother John Hendricks, have donated $50,000 in support of the Gloria and Bob Hendricks Family Scoreboard for tennis at CSULB. Gloria was the women’s tennis coach from 1975 to 1980, and Cindy, her daughter, played the sport for the 49ers before graduating in 1974 as an accounting major.
Cindy’s husband, Les, also a 1974 alum, earned a bachelor’s degree in geography. The Robbins have been avid supporters of CSULB athletics for more than a decade as were the Hendricks before they passed away—Bob in December 2006 and Gloria last June.
“We thought it was a great way to honor Cindy’s parents because tennis was such a huge part of their lives, as it was with Cindy,” said Les Robbins, who worked in law enforcement and for a decade represented Long Beach’s east side as a city councilman for the Fifth District. “At the same time it gives us the opportunity to give back to the university. We believe in giving back. This was just another way to continue doing that.”
“The women’s tennis project is something that they were committed to supporting from the beginning,” said David Benedict, senior associate athletics director for external relations. “When the project was officially approved by the university, they immediately stepped forward and presented the university with a gift. This gift is very special; it not only enhances the new facility but also recognizes a legacy of involvement in our women’s tennis program.”
“Cindy’s father was the tennis coach at Wilson High School for about 25 years and both were very avid and active tennis players socially,” Les noted, “and they were very involved in an organization that still exists today, Long Beach Tennis Patrons. Through that group, they assisted younger people in learning the game and did fundraising for junior squads and young kids coming up in the tennis world. They were very much a tennis family and both of them played up until the last few years of their lives.”