Open for Business

University Celebrates New Downtown Campus

101 Howard OpeningUSF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., Saleforce CEO Marc Benioff, and USF Trustee Craig Conway (from left). Photo by Drew Altizer.

USF celebrated the grand opening of its new Downtown Campus on Sept. 14, with Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of—one of the world’s leading technology companies—welcoming the university to the South of Market neighborhood. Salesforce’s headquarters is located just two blocks away.

Speaking before a packed house of invited guests, Benioff embraced USF as Salesforce’s newest neighbor and highlighted the values shared by both organizations, including their commitment to investing, engaging, and contributing to their communities and society at large.

“As you come to this great university and you learn about business; and you learn about how to make money; and you learn about how to be successful, don’t forget about the importance of giving back,” Benioff told the audience. 

At Salesforce, Benioff developed a 1/1/1 model of philanthropy. Every year, the company donates 1 percent of its stock equity to its charitable foundation, gives employees paid leave for 1 percent of their work time for their volunteer efforts, and gives or heavily discounts 1 percent of its products to nonprofits and higher education institutions around the world.

Sophie Mao MBA, MAPS ’14, a communication and training analyst at Salesforce, said the new location is ideal for working professionals who want to earn an advanced degree in business. “I love it,” Mao said. “It takes me five minutes to walk to class.”

101 Howard Classroom
USF’s Downtown Campus is just two blocks from the Embarcadero BART station. Photo by Michael McCaffrey.

The Downtown Campus is home to many of USF’s Masagung Graduate School of Management programs, including the school’s MBA and financial analysis courses.

For Michael Appezzato MBA ’13, the downtown location means seeing and being seen. “You’re just bumping into the type of people that work in the type of environment that you’re hoping to be in after you graduate.”

The new campus reinforces the university’s ties with business and civic leaders and underscores USF’s commitment to engaging with the city, said USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. “With neighbors such as Google, Twitter, Dropbox,, and established legal and financial services firms, USF’s Downtown Campus presents tremendous opportunity for new corporate partnerships and places USF in the center of innovation.” 

The opening of the Downtown Campus marks a return to the university’s roots. The building is located within walking distance of Fourth and Market streets, where the university was founded in 1855 (currently the site of the Westfield San Francisco Centre). The historic building was previously home to the Folger Coffee Company and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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