Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai showed he hasn’t forgotten the path that led to a lucrative football career with a donation of $250,000 to the University of Utah’s new football center.

The contribution will fund the Paul and LeTasha Soliai Player Lounge at his alma mater. Soliai played for Utah from 2005-06, and was named second-team all-Mountain West Conference as a senior.

“I’m thankful I can donate and help out the University of Utah football team and give back to the school. They gave me the opportunity to play, and as a kid from Samoa, it’s something I’m thankful for every day,” Soliai said.

Soliai also has a charitable foundation dedicated to the fight against obesity in Pacific Island children. A California native of Somoan descent, Soliai finished his high school football career in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Soliai, a fourth-round draft choice in 2007, has started in the middle for the Dolphins’ defense for all or part of the past four seasons and became the highest-paid defensive player in franchise history in 2011 when he earned his first Pro Bowl selection.