The University of San Francisco Receives $17 Million for Student Scholarships from the Sobrato Family

The Sobrato Scholars Endowed Fund marks the largest gift in USF history

SAN FRANCISCO (January 27, 2022) — Three generations of the Sobrato family have committed $17 million to the University of San Francisco (USF) for the Sobrato Scholars program, marking the largest gift in USF history. The Sobrato Scholars gift will fund four-year scholarships for undergraduate students from Cristo Rey high schools in the Bay Area.

“This gift, which follows upon the great generosity of the Sobrato family that allowed for the expansion and renovation of the Sobrato Events Center, will open doors for hundreds of students to access an education that changes their lives, so they can go out and change the world for the better,” said USF President Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. “We are humbled by the love and support from these dear friends of USF.”

The Sobrato Scholars gift will fund four-year scholarships for students from Cristo Rey high schools in the Bay Area, including Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School, ICA Cristo Rey Academy in San Francisco, and/or Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School in Oakland. If there are no applicants from these schools, the funds will be awarded to first-generation college students from the Bay Area. The scholarship will be awarded to first-year undergraduate students, and is renewable annually through completion of their undergraduate degree.

“Many Cristo Rey graduates are the first in their families to graduate from high school and most are first-generation college students,” said Rev. Peter Pabst, S.J., Chancellor of Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School. “To focus a gift of a Jesuit education that supports these students is a wise investment, as it highlights young people who have received a solid college prep education and have an enviable resume of places they’ve worked, gaining many life skills.”

This new scholarship underpins USF’s legacy of Jesuit educational values and the university’s dedication to recruiting students from local schools that share those values. The $17 million will go into the USF endowment and be restricted for the Sobrato Scholars program. This endowment will generate revenue in perpetuity to pay for tuition relief scholarships, helping to remove barriers to access of higher education for future USF students for years to come.

“We have long held that education is the gateway to opportunity,” said John A. Sobrato. “We hope this gift will make a great education accessible to more talented young people ready to contribute to society in their own unique and important ways.”

In 2015, John A. and Susan Sobrato funded an upgrade to what was then known as the War Memorial Gym. Now called the Sobrato Center, the new state of the art athletics facility welcomes athletes and fans in support of current and future Dons. The Sobrato family has also contributed to the new Lone Mountain East Residence Hall, which houses sophomore students. The combined total of gifts from the Sobrato family to USF is $32 million, making them the largest donors in university history.

The Sobrato Scholars Endowed Fund gift was made as part of ‘Changing the World from Here: Campaign for the University of San Francisco’, USF’s largest campaign to date, with the goal of raising $300 million by May 31, 2022. The campaign supports three priorities: student scholarships and financial aid, new programs, and expansion and revitalization of campus facilities. Incoming students who are interested in the scholarship are encouraged to contact the USF Office of Financial Aid.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit Catholic university that reflects the diversity, optimism, and opportunities of the city that surrounds it. USF offers more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and nursing and health professions. At USF, each course is an intimate learning community in which top professors encourage students to turn learning into positive action, so the students graduate equipped to do well in the world — and inspired to change it for the better. For more information, visit

About ‘Changing the World From Here: Campaign for the University of San Francisco’

USF’s current campaign is raising $300 million through May 31, 2022 to support student scholarships and financial aid, the creation of bold and innovative programs, and the renovation of current facilities and construction of new space, all part of expanding the university’s global influence. For more information, visit the USF Campaign Page.