Clovis native gives back to alma mater with $30M gift

Clovis native, UCSD alum and Qualcomm co-founder, Franklin Antonio. (David Baillot/UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering)

UC San Diego has a special place in the heart of Clovis native and Qualcomm co-founder Franklin Antonio, and that is why he is giving back to the university in the form of a $30 million donation.

The gift will be used to fund engineering research and education at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. And to honor him for the gift, the university will name a planned building, Franklin Antonio Hall, in his honor.

“Engineering has been good to me and there’s a special place in my heart for UC San Diego since it’s my alma mater,” Antonio said. “Most people don’t realize that UCSD now has the largest engineering school in the UC system. It’s really a tremendous program, so, I’ve been looking for several years for some way to do something for the university. I’ve been setting money aside and looking into funding research and things like that. This great opportunity came along, so I jumped on it.”

The 200,000-square-foot Franklin Antonio Hall, scheduled to open by fall of 2021, is being designed to facilitate cross-discipline collaborations that are critical for solving the toughest health, energy, autonomy and security challenges facing society.

“It’s going to house about 25 percent of the [Jacobs] School of Engineering,” Antonio said. “It’s going to be a combination of labs, offices and classrooms just like any standard university building. The building is going to be organized into suites, which each contain combinations of labs and offices, with an foster in collaboration between researchers and different university departments.”

University officials expressed gratitude for Antonio’s gift, which also contributes toward the university’s $2 billion Campaign for UC San Diego, a collective effort focused on enhancing the student experience while sparking research and innovation.

“We are designing this building to encourage more of the innovative collaborations that are a hallmark of the Jacobs School,” said Albert P. Pisano, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “We are extremely fortunate that [Franklin Antonio] recognizes the need to support the education, research and technology transfer mission of our engineering school.”

Antonio graduated from UCSD with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics and Information Science in 1974. After college, he worked at Linkabit, a company founded by one of his professors, for 12 years before joining colleagues Irwin Jacobs, Andrew Viterbi and four others to create Qualcomm in 1985. Today, Antonio serves as Chief Scientist at Qualcomm in a “semi-retired” role.

“We are so grateful to Franklin Antonio for his incredible generosity to UC San Diego,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Mr. Antonio is a remarkable alumnus and visionary who has made transformational technological advances that have touched each of our lives. With this gift, he is now making a significant impact on the campus and beyond, fueling future research, collaboration and discoveries that will have a positive impact around the globe.”