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$7.7 Million Gift from Stevens Family Helps Launch Athletic Program Enhancements at Santa Clara University
A $7.7 million gift from Santa Clara University alumna and trustee, Mary Stevens '84, and her husband, Mark, a prominent venture capitalist, marks the first step in a significant recommitment of University resources, time, and talent to create a more nationally prominent athletics program at Santa Clara University. An event celebrating athletics and the generous donation was held June 11.
The gift will be used to build a new state-of-the-art soccer training center and to upgrade the current soccer stadium. It will also help build a new plaza to recognize and honor the importance and history of sports played on that field—including many years of NCAA football and women’s and men’s soccer.
“We thank the Stevens family for their generous gift that has brought us to this important moment for Santa Clara University athletics,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “After a great deal of thought, study, and reflection, we are moving forward with a new level of resources to reach our goal of having an athletics program that is nationally prominent, ethically focused, and a vibrant force on campus.”
Watershed Moment for Athletics
The Stevens gift is a key component as Santa Clara University undergoes strategic planning to ensure that athletics will continue to play a key role in the vibrancy and excellence of the University. On June 6, the University’s Board of Trustees enthusiastically endorsed a report that provides the broad outlines for implementing a plan over the coming months to raise the visibility and competitive stature of SCU’s intercollegiate athletic program.
“With a deep commitment to educate the whole person, Santa Clara aims to provide outstanding coaching and facilities for our student-athletes," said Provost Dennis Jacobs. “Santa Clara University aspires to reach the same level of excellence in intercollegiate athletics as it has achieved within its academic programs."
Upgraded Stadium and Plaza to Honor Bronco Sports
The first step in this recommitment is being funded by a $7.7 million gift—the largest single gift ever to SCU Athletics—from the Stevens family. The gift will help build a new soccer training center; upgrade the stands in the soccer stadium; and build a plaza that will celebrate Bronco sports—its past, present, and future. The plaza will celebrate the history of Santa Clara University football as well as the legacy and future of men’s and women’s soccer at SCU.
The Bronco men’s and women’s soccer teams have a proud and storied tradition that includes two national championships, 15 Final Fours, 21 West Coast Conference titles, 43 NCAA tournament berths and 64 All-Americans. Players on the two teams have combined to win 20 World Cup and Olympic medals.
In addition, the gift will further fund scholarships for students from Mary Stevens’ high school alma mater, St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, to attend SCU, as well as other improvements.
“This wonderful gift from the Stevens family represents a watershed moment for our two soccer programs and for Santa Clara Athletics generally,” said SCU Director of Athletics Dan Coonan. “We will now have state-of-the-art facilities that are befitting of soccer programs with our national profile and legacy. Coupled with two of the best coaching staffs in intercollegiate soccer, the sky is the limit now for our Bronco soccer programs. And this gift will most certainly serve as a catalyst for further significant support for Athletics generally going forward. I really believe now the potential for Bronco Athletics has never been brighter. ”
Mary and Mark Stevens
Mary has served on the Board of Trustees since 2012, before which she served on the Board of Fellows for more than a decade. A soccer player while at SCU, she served on the president’s athletic commission, which explored the best role for sports at Santa Clara University. She spent 14 years in the commercial real estate industry in Silicon Valley.
“It’s a joy to be able to make this gift to my alma mater. I am proud to help the University build the foundation for a well-rounded experience for the next generation of elite student-athletes,” said Mary. “Santa Clara is uniquely positioned as an institution of strong Jesuit values that benefits from its location in the heart of Silicon Valley.”
Past gifts from the couple include $7 million to build the Paul L. Locatelli, S.J., Student Activity Center, and a $500,000 scholarship for St. Mary’s Academy alumnae to attend SCU.
Mark, an active philanthropist and former partner in the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, was an investor in some of the most successful tech companies of the past decades, notably Google and LinkedIn. He has served on the University’s investment committee since December 2009.
“I see Santa Clara as the best Catholic institution in the Pacific Rim,” added Mark. “This gift is an investment in future leaders who will have the advantage of a strong grounding in academics, athletics, and global human values.”
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