A Heritage of Coffee and Education

By Joseph Wakelee-Lynch

In 1963, the Gaviña family were Cuban émigrés and new to California. They had fled their homeland’s revolution and left behind a coffee growing and roasting enterprise. Then an opportunity presented itself: They bought a coffee roaster for $500.

Today, F. Gaviña & Sons, in Vernon, Calif., produces more than 40 million lbs. of coffee a year. Producers of specialty and gourmet coffees, including Don Francisco’s Coffee Family Reserve, the company supplies coffee to more than 3,000 McDonald’s outlets in the western United States.

As the family rebuilt their business, says CEO Pedro Gaviña, it also remained committed to education for their children and their community. Three members of the next generation — Peter ’02, Michael ’07 and Jennifer ’10 — graduated from LMU. And the company provides free English language classes for their employees and education about the coffee business. They call it Gaviña University.

“Like LMU, we put a big emphasis on educating the younger generation,” says Pedro Gaviña. “We have an opportunity to help young people get an education. I think children have a right to that.”

F. Gaviña & Sons is a major supplier of coffee to retailers in the West and consumers across the nation.

The Gaviña family contributes to Mexican American Alumni Association scholarships because they believe an education can change a person’s life.

“The more education you have, the more you can do in life,” says Michael Gaviña ’07, who is purchasing manager in the family business and active in alumni activities with the College of Business Administration.

To support MAAA, contact Edgar Aguirre, director of development, MAAA and Scholarship Initiatives, at 310.338.5878, edgar.aguirre@lmu.edu.