civic leader John Jacobs, dies at age 77
SAN FRANCISCO, July 16, 2002 -- John Howard Jacobs, chairman of the San Francisco State University Foundation's Board of Directors and a pivotal player in San Francisco's city planning and economic development for more than 40 years, died of cancer Monday, July 15 at California Pacific Medical Center. He was 77 years of age.
A long time supporter of San Francisco State University, Jacobs was just honored at San Francisco State University's commencement two months ago when he received the prestigious San Francisco State University President's Medal for his commitment to the University from S.F. State President Robert A. Corrigan. The award honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the University and the city of San Francisco that will have long-lasting and widespread benefits for SFSU students and faculty
"John Jacobs is one of the finest men I have known," said S.F. State President Robert A. Corrigan. "I am immensely fortunate to have worked with him and gained from his clear-headed counsel since I came to this University 14 years ago.
"What John has given to this community throughout a lifetime of civic engagement has helped to make the Bay Area a better place for all of us," Corrigan said. "And we who also knew him as a friend found our lives brightened by his warmth and generosity of spirit. We will miss him terribly."
On the San Francisco State University campus Tuesday, flags were flown at half-staff in honor of Jacobs. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Shirley Jacobs.
Memorial gifts may be made to the San Francisco State University Foundation, Inc., the Point Reyes Bird Observatory or the San Francisco Planning and Urban Reseach (SPUR) Association.
Under Jacobs' leadership on the SFSU Foundation, the University has been able to ease its housing shortage by arranging financing for the 760-bed Village at Centennial Square and by acquiring 180 units of housing from the Villas at Parkmerced, which are adjacent to the campus.
Jacobs began his close association with San Francisco State University in the 1980's when he was asked by then S.F. State President Chia-Wei Woo to join the President's Advisory Board, a group of influential business and civic leaders formed to help chart the future of the university. Then group later merged with the San Francisco State University Foundation, a tax-exempt organization that administers projects and funds from outside sponsors to enhance the educational mission of the university. Jacobs, a member of the Foundation since 1989, became the foundation's chairman of the board in June 2001.
Jacobs earned his bachelor of science degree in economics from New Mexico State University in 1950 and he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree (LL.D) from Golden Gate University in 1985. In his four decades of service, Jacobs was a key figure in San Francisco's emergence as a major world class city. A native of Philadelphia, Jacobs began his career in San Francisco in 1966 when he was selected executive director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) Association after spending eight years as executive director of the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Stockton, Calif.
As the top executive at SPUR, Jacobs continued the organization's deep involvement with city planning issues, while also guiding SPUR's expansion into new policy areas such as city management, finance, and the democratic decision-making process. He also began to work to bring neighborhoods together with the business community. Jacobs later became instrumental in the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area by gathering community, and corporate and political support.
Jacobs became executive director of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce in 1981, a post he held until 1988 when became president of the chamber for a year.
While with the chamber, Jacobs developed and expanded its international business department, leading trade missions to countries such as the former USSR in 1983.
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