Vice President of Development, Peter Wilch, attended last week’s Associated Students USF meeting and discussed how USF’s recent donations will fit into the university’s institutional master plan. Wilch explained to ASUSF members that a couple of months ago, Silicon Valley philanthropists John and Sue Sobrato, donated $15 million to upgrade War Memorial Gym and rename it as the Sobrato Center.
According to Wilch, Sobrato and his children are all Jesuit educated, and this donation from him and his wife is the first gift that they’ve given outside of the Silicon Valley. The Sobrato donation is the single largest donation USF has received at this point during the university’s ongoing campaign efforts to raise $300 million by 2021.
“To date, we’ve raised about $72 million and this is in something a little bit more than 18 months,” said Wilch. “This is the best 18 month timeframe we’ve ever had in the history of fundraising at the University of San Francisco.”
Wilch outlined the three major components of USF’s institutional master plan, all of which intend to provide improvements on a variety of platforms. The first component of the master plan is to include additional university housing. Academic improvements, specifically, securing a 70,000 square foot academic building on campus to address the need for more space, is the second main component.
The third component includes improvements to athletic facilities, and designating a multipurpose space on campus, for student and faculty use. The future Sobrato Center could serve as such a multipurpose space. This space would not only be used for athletic purposes, but could also host an array of events and community gatherings.
Wilch reassured ASUSF that the master plan will not solely focus on athletics improvements, but will address other things as well. For example, Wilch said that student financial aid is a number one priority, and another major interest is possibly launching an engineering school.
“[USF] is not going to get in an arms war about athletics,” said Wilch. “But very little has been done to the facilities in the last sixty years. We want to get the building into better shape and convert it to use as a multipurpose space as well.”
Wilch’s presentation at ASUSF last Tuesday occurred amidst Generosity Week on campus, which served to raise awareness of the important donors who contribute to USF.
Later on in the meeting, the ASUSF Executive Board members gave brief presentations explaining their roles and duties, since applications for senate begin this week. Some of the many things that ASUSF has accomplished includes the implementation of 24/7 atrium hours, a campus public safety shuttle, Muni passes for students, and convenient charging stations throughout campus.
Also, ASUSF President Larry Figueroa and Junior Class Representative Francesca Bitton briefly discussed their ongoing public safety shuttle resolution. They are currently proposing ideas to public safety in an effort to make the shuttle system safer for students trying to take it at night, and to make it more effective. Figueroa and Bitton are discussing possibly adding another safety shuttle van, and providing cell phones for drivers to increase safety by contacting students in need of a ride. This resolution is still in its preliminary stages, and other ASUSF members provided suggestions for Figueroa and Bitton to consult with public safety.