Three decades ago, Hossein and Razhei (Mina) Ghazvini came to the United States looking for a community to raise their three sons. They found a homestead here in Tallahassee; a diverse community, which encouraged education and business development.
The family roots have produced much fruit for three generations of the Ghazvini family and as a result, for Florida State University and for the Tallahassee community.
Recently, Florida State University dedicated the Odyssey Center, a residential student housing project in the heart of College Town, in honor of Ghazvini Family and the many gifts they have made to Florida State Athletics.
“Our family believes in education and giving back to the community,” said Steve Ghazvini. “Our father passed away in 2015 and my brother Pepper (who died in 2007) and all of us have been carrying on our father’s tradition. This community and this school has been very good to us so it’s our duty and responsibility as good citizen and a good alumni of FSU to continue to give back. We are happy and very blessed to be able to continue to do that.”
College Town is a vibrant live, work, play development just steps from Doak Campbell Stadium, the Tucker Center and campus. The College Town district offers FSU students, faculty and alumni restaurants, bars and shopping as well as a variety of housing options. The Odyssey building is the third and final phase of the College Town development, which has ignited economic growth in a once blighted area.
As Premier Construction and Sandco grew, so did the Ghazvini Family’s ability to give back to the community through education. Since 1998, the Ghazvinis donated $4.85 million to Florida State University through Seminole Boosters, Inc., with an additional pledge of $5.16 million through 2028 for athletics facilities.
“Florida State University and Tallahassee are extremely fortunate to have this great family’s involvement in making our community a better place to live and raise our children,” said Andy Miller, President and CEO of Seminole Boosters, Inc. “They deeply believe in education and helping others less fortunate is very much a fabric of their being. They continue to demonstrate that commitment with their generosity.
“Hossein and Pepper set the tone decades ago and the tradition has been carried forward with Steve, Peter, Jason and Justin. We are most grateful.”
Hossein was the first of his family to attend college and he was keenly aware of the opportunity it provided him as an international banker, an advantage he wished for his family to share with others through education.
His wish has become a proud family tradition.
In addition to their gifts to FSU, Tallahassee Community College also received a $2 million contribution in 2006 to develop the 85,000 square feet Ghazvini Center for Health Care Education. The Leon County School Board has been the beneficiary of land contributions, valued in the millions, and school services. The Ghazvini Learning Center, honors Pepper Ghazvini, Hossein’s eldest son, who died in 2007.
The Ghazvinis will continue to invest in the Tallahassee community through gifts to Florida State.
“I want to tell you, we are the ones who benefit from this community more than the community benefitted from us,” Steve explained. “We really did receive a lot of good things from the community for ourselves and our children. Our children were born here and have grown here and our family is buried here so this is it. This will always be our community. It will be like this forever.”
Pete Ghazvini echoes his brother’s sentiments.
“Our father taught us to give back to the community and the best way to do that is through education and health care,” Pete said. “We give to FSU, FAMU, and the county school board.”
The second generation of Ghazvini’s have shared their father’s wishes to the third generation, who now include FSU alumni.
“My parents took me to games so I grew up in Doak Campbell Stadium following Florida State as a kid and remember the national championship years,” said Jason Ghazvini, who together with his sister Layla, followed their father, Pepper, into real estate development. Jason attended FSU from 2004 to 2007 and is now President of Premier Construction, the position his father once held.
“My family has always been very community minded and we plan to continue to be for years to come,” Jason said. “We see giving back as a blessing to be able to do. One way to give back to the whole community is to give to education, which benefits everyone, and what better place to give than to Florida State because when Florida State is doing good the whole community prospers.”
Steve son’s Justin, who attended FSU before joining the family business, shares the family commitment to the community. “Providing for Florida State is a family tradition my generation will continue to do for many years to come.”