Within days of the death on Aug. 2 of John “Jack” B. Gilbert, 91, his wife, Carol, and son, Rod, were back on campus extending his generosity to CLU. The most recent gifts from the family – the most generous donors in the history of the University – will establish Jack’s Coffee Shop as a campus hangout within the Ullman Dining Commons to be completed in 2014, and endow the John B. Gilbert Scholarship for Business Ethics.
So a legacy continues. It was Gilbert who effectively initiated the building boom that continues on campus today. He made his first gift in 1985 and contributed mightily to the capital campaign that was launched in 1999. In addition to the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center and Gilbert Arena, which opened in 2006, many CLU facilities and programs “that do not bear his name exist because of his support,” said President Chris Kimball. “The University’s success over the last decade is due in large part to Jack’s vision and commitment.”
Gilbert was chairman of the board of Zero Corp. and, later, TOLD Corp., a former member of the CLU Board of Regents, a self-made, self-educated entrepreneur, the owner of one of the first Social Security cards issued in 1936 with the New Deal, and a great smoker of fine cigars. He was the first recipient of the Hall of Fame Award presented by the Ventura County Economic Development Association in 1989 and, in 2010, was inducted into the Tri-County Business Hall of Fame. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from CLU in 1990.