USF receives its largest single gift of $15 million

A couple who made a generous contribution to the University of San Francisco will soon have a new athletic facility named after them, university officials announced Thursday.

Silicon Valley philanthropist and real estate developer John Sobrato and his wife Susan Sobrato gifted the university $15 million, the largest gift from individuals in the school’s history, according to the university.

The gift will help fund USF’s first-ever master plan for a new athletic facility, which would renovate the school’s 60-year-old War Memorial Gymnasium and help the school build up its Division 1 athletics.

The multi-use facility will be named The Sobrato Center and will feature a new club level with preferred seating, according to USF officials.

“When I saw War Memorial Gym, I asked myself: Why don’t we modernize this building, bring in the natural light, and make it a much more inviting place not only for athletics but also for all campus events,” John Sobrato said in a statement.

John Sobrato founded the Sobrato Organization, a prominent real estate development firm. The firm has developed over 15 million square feet of commercial real estate in Silicon Valley, including headquarters for Apple and Netflix. The firm also owns over 75 commercial properties and 30 apartment communities, according to USF officials.

During the last two decades, the Sobrato Family Foundation has given nearly $315 million to support education, economic opportunities and essential human services, USF officials said.

“We are deeply grateful to John and Sue for their remarkable generosity and philanthropic leadership,” USF president Paul Fitzgerald said in a statement.

“This extraordinary gift will transform our facility into a stunning, modern center,” USF Athletics Director Scott Sidwell said in a statement. “I will help us go beyond winning at the highest levels of competition and also play an important role in the intellectual and moral development of our student athletes.”

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