A Del Mar business executive has donated $1 million to enrich UC San Diego’s baseball program, a gift that can be traced back to his childhood days watching the Red Sox play at Boston’s Fenway Park.
“My grandfather used to take me to day-night double headers,” said Gary Jacobs, who joined with his wife Jerri-Ann in making the donation.
“We’d sit out in center field during the first game, then go out for a steak dinner and come back for the nightcap. I’ve taken my kids to Fenway for the World Series.”
Jacobs was born in Boston, but he didn’t stay there for college. He attended UC San Diego, where he got into intramural sports -- but not organized baseball.
“I knew I had a better chance of owning a team than playing on one,” said Jacobs, who majored in management science at UCSD.
Jacobs today owns the Lake Elsinore Storm, a Class-A farm team in the San Diego Padres system.
Jacobs and his wife have paid a lot of attention to UCSD over the years. Their philanthropy helped lead to the construction of a baseball field on east campus, and the installation of lights for night games. The Triton baseball team has enjoyed many years of success, including finishing as National Runners-Up in 2017 in the Division II baseball tournament.
The team is moving to Division 1.
“We want to help set the tone for raising money to help UCSD make that transition,” Jacobs said.
The couple’s latest gift is meant to fund scholarships for scholar-athletes. The $1 million gift represents the largest sports scholarship created at UCSD.
The Jacobses separately donated $1 million to support graduate fellowships and programs in UCSD’s Division of Social Sciences.
Their philanthropic efforts also have gone to other educational endeavors. Twenty years ago, the couple founded High Tech High Charter School, which specializes in helping youngsters enter the high tech and biotech industries.
— Gary Robbins is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune