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 Frugal Innovation Hub and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, 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 Sobrato Organization in Cupertino, California, a large commercial development firm in Silicon Valley. The Sobratos, who signed the Giving Pledge in 2012, have a long philanthropic history with the university, including a gift of $20 million for construction of the Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library, 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 Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, a gift of $10 million to Bellarmine College Preparatory high school, and gifts of $5 million each to Valley Medical Center and National Hispanic University.
In addition to chairing the board of the Sobrato Family Foundation and serving on the boards of several Santa Clara-area organizations, John Sobrato runs three Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits, which provide rent-free office space to seventy-two organizations and conference space to Bay Area nonprofits.