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New SCU residence hall complex named after prominent Silicon Valley developer and wife

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 27, 2000 – Santa Clara University today announced a gift of $4.4 million from prominent Silicon Valley developer John A. Sobrato and his wife, Susan, of Atherton.

The gift helps build a new apartment-style residential complex, which will be named after the Sobratos. The John A. and Susan Sobrato Residential Learning Complex includes apartments for 240 juniors and seniors. Construction began last fall, and the project is to be ready for occupancy in September.

John A. Sobrato is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He is the owner of Sobrato Development Companies, of Cupertino, one of the largest commercial development firms in Silicon Valley. Sobrato is a 1960 SCU business school graduate, along with University President Paul Locatelli, S.J.

"I am proud to be a classmate of John's," said Locatelli. "John and Sue are among the unsung benefactors of Santa Clara. They have made a number of important gifts to the University over the years. We are pleased to give their generosity this public recognition."

Sobrato, his company and the Sobrato Family Foundation have been prominent philanthropists in Silicon Valley for decades. In previous years, the Sobratos have given money to SCU to landscape the perimeter of the University campus, and to endow the John M. Sobrato Professorship in Engineering, named after his father, the late John M. Sobrato.

John M. Sobrato, son of the developer, also graduated from SCU, in 1983. In April, he will be the new chairman of the SCU Board of Fellows, which raises money for scholarships. Daughter Sheri J. Sobrato received a master’s degree in counseling psychology in 1994; John M. Sobrato’s wife, Abby, also graduated from SCU in 1983 and is a former president of the Catala Club, another Santa Clara fundraising group.

The new $15.6 million Sobrato residential complex, located on Bellomy Street between SCU’s Casa Italiana residence hall and the art department building, will be the first on campus to feature apartments for upperclassmen when it opens in September. The general contractor for the project is Devcon Construction Inc. of Milpitas.

A ceremony recognizing the Sobratos will be held at 5:15 p.m.on Tuesday, March 28, at the construction site.

The president said the new residential learning complex will not only provide needed housing for juniors and seniors, but also "points to the direction for our future construction."

The new residence complex advances the new University goal of creating living-learning communities on campus. In addition to housing, the facility will include a classroom, a technology center, a multi-purpose room, commons and seminar rooms and apartments for faculty fellows and guest scholars. It will also provide office space for the Eastside Project, which coordinates student service projects, and the Bannan Institute for Jesuit Education and Christian Values.

The Sobrato residential complex helps inaugurate a time of change in Santa Clara University residential life, where approximately 1,700 students, mostly freshman and sophomores, live on campus.

It is the first modern residential complex specifically designed for upperclassmen. In the fall, it will join six other existing residence halls that are to be redefined as residential learning communities that combine learning and living environments.

Santa Clara University is a 7,700-student, Catholic, Jesuit university with a rigorous undergraduate curriculum and nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Established in 1851, it has a tradition of educating the whole person for a life of service and leadership. California's oldest institution of higher learning celebrates its sesquicentennial in the 2000-01 academic year.


A 4-color JPEG (or black-and-white) image of an architect’s drawing of the new Sobrato residential complex is available via e-mail. To request the image, or for more information, call Barry Holtzclaw, director of media relations at 408-554-5126 or e-mail

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