has announced a $100 million gift from alumnus and Silicon Valley real estate developer , for a new center dedicated to STEM education.
The largest gift in the university's 166-year history will support construction of the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation, a "campus within a campus" that, when completed, will host cross-disciplinary explorations aimed at enhancing undergraduate student learning and discovery across the STEM disciplines. Designed by Portland-based Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, the 300,000-square-foot facility will feature flexible laboratory, classroom, and student project spaces and will be integrated with the university's and , enabling more interaction between SCU's science and engineering resources and its Jesuit mission-based programs focused on meeting the needs of the global poor.
A 1960 Santa Clara graduate, John A. Sobrato is a longtime member of SCU's board of trustees and founder of the in Cupertino, California, a large commercial development firm in Silicon Valley. The Sobratos, who signed the in 2012, have a long philanthropic history with the university, including a gift of $20 million for construction of the , , and , both of which were completed in 2008, as well as gifts in support of the Sobrato Residential Learning Community, Abby Sobrato Mall, and other campus buildings. Elsewhere in Silicon Valley, gifts from the Sobrato family have included one of $20 million to the , a gift of $10 million to high school, and gifts of $5 million each to Valley Medical Center and National Hispanic University.
In addition to chairing the board of the and serving on the boards of several Santa Clara-area organizations, John Sobrato runs three , which provide rent-free office space to seventy-two organizations and conference space to Bay Area nonprofits.