Philanthropist Joan Jacobs Leaves a Legacy at USD

Philanthropist Joan Jacobs Leaves a Legacy at USD

Joan and Irwin Jacobs

The University of San Diego (USD) was saddened on Tuesday morning to learn of the passing of Joan Jacobs. She and her family have been tremendous supporters, for many years, of the university. 

In 2013, Joan and her husband, Irwin, made it possible for the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) to establish the Mobile Technology Learning Center, which in 2017 was renamed the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education, a nonprofit research and development institute that powers inclusive innovation and leadership in education.

The Jacobs Institute has advocated for and advanced innovation and equity in education and schools. Today, the institute continues to engage in pioneering research and evaluation, to develop innovative curricula and technologies and to support professional development that’s grounded in the learning sciences. 

At the Jacobs Institute, researchers, designers, technologists and faculty members believe in student-centered and transformational learning and improving the world by helping students realize their talents and skills. The institute’s experts believe in every person’s potential to make a unique contribution. They also believe in rigor, integrity and excellence in research, in research-informed professional development, and in the chance for everyone to have access to skills and tools. Most of all, they believe in a spirit of innovation. 

The entire Jacobs family embodies that spirit of innovation.

Irwin Jacobs is the co-founder of Qualcomm and is credited with advancing the mobile phone world to what it is today. His granddaughter, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, who served as a Scholar in Residence at USD’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, helped USD expand the work we’re doing through our Violence, Inequality and Power Lab — or what we call the VIP Lab.

The quest of the VIP Lab is to more fully and more accurately understand the scope and scale of violence, inequality and power, as USD continues to confront urgent challenges that face humanity.

Joan Jacobs and the Jacobs family understood the importance of being innovative. They also understood that it’s vital to confront urgent challenges. USD celebrates their vision, their spirit of innovation and their generosity. 

That legacy will have a lasting effect on those impacted through the work of the Jacobs Institute, on those helped through the VIP Lab and on the generations of USD students who, like Joan Jacobs, will go on to make a difference in the world in their own unique and profound ways.

— USD News Center