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Things To Come

Things To Come

By Steven Boyd Saum

View full image Illustration by David Plunkert
John A. Sobrato '60 promised something terrific in STEM. He delivered the future. 

Before we proceed, dear reader, indulge in a moment from our back pages: last spring, a conversation with John A. Sobrato ’60 that wrapped up with enthusiasm over the new law school building that would soon rise, and the new STEM campus. Perhaps that perked up your ears: New STEM campus?

“Wait till you see what’s coming,” Sobrato said. “It’s gonna be terrific.”

So now, see the future unfold. (And since this is a magazine, when it comes to print, we mean that literally.)

What you’ll see is made possible by the biggest gift in the history of Santa Clara University: From John A. and Susan Sobrato, $100 million to build the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation.

And since we’re talking superlatives, the print edition gatefold of the artist’s vision in this mag is the biggest thing we’ve ever done, too. (We don’t yet have unfolding portable screens for digital yet, but soon, right?) Rendered by artist Tavis Coburn, it hints at the radiant future imagined on Coburn’s illustration for our cover, too: a world we might build, and soon—of hyperloops and jet packs and flying cars, rockets that blast into the sky, then land and blast off again.

Celestial dreams? In January, this world lost the last man to walk on the Moon. That was back in 1972. His mother was Slovak and his father was Czech, and he said that coming back into the Earth’s atmosphere was “like being immersed in a sheet of fire, a comet, a shooting star.”

That was us, people: We sent him there. But what about back on the ground?

That’s why you build something big and bold: to do the work that needs to be done. Call it a Moonshot. As John A. Sobrato puts it: “The world today faces some really immense problems. We’re talking about climate change, global health, poverty, energy sustainability.”

This building will be a meeting place for work on science and tech and engineering at an institution where fundamental questions of ethics—what is the right thing to do?—are at the heart of the matter. And where work is sparked by imagination and creativity and beauty and truth, and the sense of shaping whole persons of many stripes and sizes.

There will be lots more to come as relates to this tale. And yeah, it’s gonna be terrific.

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