$100M for Discovery and Innovation

$100M for Discovery and Innovation

By Steven Boyd Saum

The largest gift in the history of Santa Clara University establishes the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation.

Thanks to John A. ’60 and Susan Sobrato, we’ll begin to build a 300,000-square-foot state-of-the-art home for cross-disciplinary work in engineering, the hard sciences, and mathematics. It will be a place to develop skills and ways of thinking and solving problems that shape the next generation of leaders for Silicon Valley and beyond.


A signature building.
And a new way to learn.

Where is it?

The Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation (SCDI) will be near the heart of campus, between the Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library; and the Patricia A. and Stephen C. Schott Admission and Enrollment Services Building. SCDI replaces three engineering buildings as well as Bannan Hall, since law will have a new home.


construction begins


square feet and 3 connected wings

Describe It.

Open and transparent, with lots of glass and natural light, with “some of the architectural details that everybody loves about Santa Clara,” John A. Sobrato says. “The same architectural vocabulary you recognize—but a modern version.”

Silicon Valley is not just a place.

It’s also a state of mind. It’s innovation that can improve the world, so you can’t stand still. Your structures, your buildings, have to keep pace with that, too. If you’re talking about a subject such as bioengineering, you have to have a grounding in biology and in engineering—together. This new facility is one more way we enable students to contribute to the good of the Valley, especially facing critical ethical issues.
—Michael E. Engh, S.J., President, SCU

Design & Build.

Portland-based ZGF Architects—Architect Magazine’s Firm of the Year and top firm for sustainability in 2016—designed it. The company is working in partnership with lab-design experts Research Facilities Design of San Diego. Devcon Construction, headed by Gary Filizetti ’67, MBA ’69, will build it.

What’s Inside?

Collaborative spaces in many flavors: from spaces designated for projects of all types—wet projects, dry projects, dirty projects, in the parlance of science and engineering. And also makerspaces in which students can pursue open-ended projects, plus flexible laboratory and classroom spaces. Transparent glass walls connect much of the building visually. Along with academic disciplines, you’ll find the Frugal Innovation Hub and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Geography and Destiny

Santa Clara won't just be in Silicon Valley. It will be central to it like never before.

by Michael S. Malone ’75, MBA ’77

With the extraordinary $100 million gift by John A. and Susan Sobrato, Santa Clara University is now poised at last to finish its rapprochement to Silicon Valley and find its true role in the 21st century.




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