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June 2018

Santa Clara University Elects John M. Sobrato Chairman of Board of Trustees

Sobrato board chair

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 13, 2018 -- John M. Sobrato, ‘83 chairman of the Sobrato Organization, has been elected to a three-year term as chairman of the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees. He replaces Paul F. Gentzkow, who completed his term June 1.

As chairman of the Sobrato Organization, Sobrato leads the executive committee that sets strategic direction of the firm's portfolio of over 15 million square feet of commercial and residential income properties, as well as the company's investments in global marketable securities. Sobrato is the third generation to be involved with the family-owned firm where he has worked since his teens.

He is very involved in the local community and is a past chair of numerous non-profit boards, including the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Bellarmine College Preparatory; KTEH Public Television; Santa Clara University’s Board of Fellows and Board of Regents; Catholic Charities of San Jose; the San Jose Repertory Theater; and Charities Housing Development Corporation and Santa Clara University’s Board of Fellows and Board of Regents . He currently serves on the boards of Notre Dame San Jose, Catholic Foundation of Santa Clara County and the Sobrato Family Foundation.

“Santa Clara University is extremely fortunate to have John M. Sobrato ‘83 as the new chairman of the Board of Trustees," said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. "He has been an engaged and valuable board member, and his passion for enhancing and advancing Santa Clara’s future is unmatched.”

In addition to the business enterprise, the Sobrato family provides continuous philanthropic support to key non-profits organizations in the local community through its affiliated private foundation, the Sobrato Family Foundation. 

“I am honored to serve as board chair for my alma mater and look forward to working with the university leadership and the Silicon Valley community to continue the great work on campus,” Sobrato said. “My very first priority will be to oversee the process leading to the selection of our next President.  I am incredibly thankful for SCU’s nearly 170-year tradition of Jesuit leadership. In particular, I am grateful to Fr. Engh for his vision in developing the 2020 Strategic Plan; the increased academic excellence that has been achieved; the completion of major enhancements to the physical plant of the campus; and  assembling an excellent leadership team around him that will benefit the University and his successor for years to come.”

Sobrato joined the University’s Board of Fellows shortly after he graduated in 1983. He and his late wife Abby, whom he met while at Santa Clara, served on the Board of Regents together. In 2011, he was asked to join the Board of Trustees by Fr. Engh. His wife, Timi, is also Jesuit-educated with an undergraduate degree and master’s in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

His sons, John and Jeff, both graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory and then from Santa Clara University. John, 30, is now an assistant principal at Latino College Preparatory Academy, a public charter high school in San Jose where he previously taught world history.  He received his teaching credential from SCU. Jeff, 28, spent five years in Los Angeles working for First Century Bank, where he rose to become an associate vice president before joining the family real estate business.  Watch a video of John M. Sobrato reminiscing about his time as a student at Santa Clara University

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 and engineering doctoral degrees. 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

Media Contact
Deepa Arora | Director, Santa Clara University Media and Internal Communications | | 408-554-5125


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