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October 2015

Silicon Valley Philanthropic and Real-Estate Paragon John A. Sobrato and His Wife Susan to be Recognized With Lifetime Achievement Award

John A. Sobrato, a Santa Clara University trustee and alumnus, and his wife of more than 50 years Susan, are being recognized by Silicon Valley Leadership Group

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 22, 2015 — Santa Clara University (SCU) congratulates John A. Sobrato, member of the University’s Board of Trustees and 1960 graduate, and his wife Susan, who will be awarded the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Spirit of Silicon Valley – Lifetime Achievement Award on October 30.  
 
John A. Sobrato is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and founder of The Sobrato Organization of Cupertino, California, one of the largest commercial development firms in Silicon Valley. In 1996 the couple and their family members launched the Sobrato Family Foundation, which has donated nearly $315 million in cash and real estate to educational, health, human services, and other charities.
 
"John A. and Susan Sobrato have supported Santa Clara University generously with their time, talents, and values,” said Michael E. Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University, who nominated the couple for the award. “For decades, they have put their extensive gifts and great success toward education, the betterment of humanity, and the support of those least able to help themselves. We are fortunate to have John's guidance on our Board of Trustees and the couple as role models for our students."
 
John and Susan Sobrato and the Sobrato Family Foundation have been prominent philanthropists in Silicon Valley for decades. They donated $20 million to build the University’s Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library, completed in 2008.  Gifts from the Sobrato family have also supported other major capital projects on campus, including the Sobrato Residential Learning Community, Abby Sobrato Mall, and numerous other campus buildings. Elsewhere in Silicon Valley, gifts from the Sobrato family have included $20 million to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, $10 million to Bellarmine College Preparatory high school, and $5 million each to Valley Medical Center and National Hispanic University. A $1.25 million gift in 2012 helped build the Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School, where John A. Sobrato currently serves as board co-chair. 
 
“Sue and I are honored to receive this award as a reflection of our family's longstanding commitment to giving back to those in need in Silicon Valley,” said John A. Sobrato. “This is where our real estate business has enjoyed its success.”
 
The Spirit of Silicon Valley – Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to outstanding community leaders and is based on three criteria: impeccable ethics, business excellence, and community engagement. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group will honor John A. and Susan Sobrato with the award at a luncheon on October 30, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. 
 
John A. Sobrato
 
Santa Clara University is proud to trace John A. Sobrato’s professional success back to his days studying business at the University. While a student, Sobrato arranged his class schedule so he could start selling Eichler houses in Palo Alto three days a week. By the age of 22, he founded Midtown Realty and was the youngest member of the Million Dollar Club of the Palo Alto Real Estate Board. In 1972, he sold Midtown Realty to focus exclusively on high-tech commercial properties, and went on to develop the iconic Apple headquarters in Cupertino; campuses for Siebel, Nvidia, Netflix, EMC, VeriSign, and Yahoo!; and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation offices. Today, the company owns 8 million square feet of office space and R&D facilities in Silicon Valley and 8,000 apartments in California, Oregon, and Washington.
 
Sobrato serves as board chair of the family firm and oversees the three Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits that provide rent free office space to 56 nonprofit service providers totaling 350,000 square feet. Through the Sobrato House and Sobrato Center for Employment Training, grants, and other endeavors, the Sobrato organization supports job programs, the Sobrato Early Academic Language program, and many others. He was recognized for his philanthropy in 2012 with the David Packard Award.
 
In addition to Santa Clara University, Sobrato serves on the boards of
 
  • NHU Foundation and Latino Preparatory Academy (Vice Chair)
  • National Hispanic University (Member)
  • Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School (Co-chair)
  • Bay Area Council (Santa Clara County Director)
  • Bellarmine College Preparatory (Regent Emeritus)
  • Parents Helping Parents (Member)
  • Ravenswood Family Health Center (Member)
  • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Foundation (Director Emeritus)
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation (Real Estate Trust Co-Chair)
 
Susan Sobrato
 
Susan and John Sobrato have been married for more than 50 years. While supporting her husband’s business pursuits for more than five decades, Susan Sobrato also prioritized raising her family to give back to their community—not only with their financial resources, but with their time. The pair are blessed and busy, with three children, five grandsons, and two granddaughters.
 
About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.
 
Media Contacts
Deepa Arora | Communications Director | darora@scu.edu | 408-554-5125
Deborah Lohse| Asst. Dir., Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121
Press Release