Santa Clara University

Giving to Santa Clara University

Coolest spot on campus


Sullivan Aquatic Center

Opened October 2008

Made possible by a gift from Jack Sullivan '59 and his wife, Joan, the Sullivan Aquatic Center doubled the university's previous swimming facility with an Olympic-sized pool twice as long as its predecessor.

The new pool is also wider, allowing the water polo team to train at the same time that recreational swimmers work out through a moveable divider.

Mr. Sullivan called his $3 million gift to construct the aquatic center an investment in the future. "Opportunites to do something meaningful are like great investments, they are hard to come by," he said. "This was a good one."

As well as a bachelor's degree in accounting, Sullivan earned an MBA in 1976 at Santa Clara's School of Business. He says he believes in acting to improve your community. 

"My gift to Santa Clara University was inspired by the leadership of people like Steve Schott, John Sobrato, and Don Lucas," he said.

A co-founder of Harris Bretall Sullivan & Smith investment firm in San Francisco, Sullivan said he became interested in water polo by watching family members play, including one grandson who was on UCLA's championship team.

He approached university officials with the idea of building a facility that would "change the ability of SCU to recruit the highest quality water polo players from around the country."

Sullivan received $3600 in academic and service scholarships while he was at SCU. "$3600 compounded at 15 percent for 50 years is—you guessed it—$3 million," he said. 

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