Steve and Cheryl Caplan commit $1 million to San Jose State football

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By: Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State University announced Thursday that they received a $1 million gift commitment from Steve and Cheryl Caplan. The gift is the latest commitment in a growing list of seven-figure gifts that will support a new football operations center on the east side of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. An additional $1 million from their estate will establish the Caplan Family Faculty Fellowship in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, the Caplan Family Teacher Innovation Fund in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, and a Spartan Athletics Fund Scholarship endowment.

“My favorite donor stories are those that begin with ‘They met while they were students at SJSU.’ Throughout a lifetime of giving back, Steve and Cheryl’s passion, commitment and love for San Jose State has never wavered,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Marie Tuite. “This gracious gift reflects their strong belief in and support of SJSU Athletics. However, more importantly, this gift also confirms their pledge to the educational mission of the university. Countless students will benefit from their impactful and inspirational gift. A sincere ‘thank you’ to two great Spartans.”

The Caplans first met at SJSU and recognize the role that the university plays in the economic well-being of Silicon Valley. They hope this gift will enable SJSU to continue its good work for future generations, help build a stronger foundation for Spartan football and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, and inspire friends and fellow alumni to invest in the university.

Spartans for Life
A 1965 graduate of SJSU’s College of Business, Steve is the retired owner and president of KBM Workspace, an office furniture and design company. He joined the firm when he was a senior at SJSU and purchased the company in 1984, helping it grow from a local dealership to a large company with business throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is a founding board member of the Tower Foundation of SJSU, an auxiliary organization whose sole mission is to serve the philanthropic purposes of SJSU. Currently serving his third term as a board member, Steve is also an active volunteer, helping alumni discover ways to support Spartan Athletics, including the development of a new football operations center.

Cheryl taught public school after graduating from SJSU’s College of Education in 1967. The mother of two boys, she served as a volunteer in the Loma Prieta School District and worked with the principal and superintendent, researching and implementing curriculum, and creating a preschool testing program that helped parents, teachers and children prepare for kindergarten. She became well-versed in the issues challenging education, including communication between families and schools, adequate funding and teacher preparation.

Steve’s goal with Spartan Athletics is to raise awareness and support the funding effort for the renovation of the east side of CEFCU Stadium. The Caplans believe that the future of SJSU Athletics is very bright, as there is a very cohesive team in place that understands the critical nature of the need for competitive facilities that will put the university on equal footing with others in the conference.

The Caplans have been on the boards of service organizations such as the San Jose Hospital, Samaritan Health Systems, The Health Trust, YMCA of Silicon Valley, KTEH/KQED Public Television, Santa Clara County Boy Scouts of America, the San Jose Rotary Club and Tahoe Maritime Museum and Gardens.

“Through this magnificent gift and with hearts full of appreciation, Cheryl and I acknowledge the gift of education we received as young adults,” said Steve. “We hope these gifts will enable San Jose State to continue its good work for future generations of students and student-athletes alike. We also wish to model philanthropic behavior for our family members, friends and future generations of Spartans.”

“The Caplans are longtime, incredibly dedicated supporters of San Jose State. This generous commitment is a testament to their deep and abiding passion for this institution,” said Vice President for University Advancement and Tower Foundation CEO Paul Lanning. “They believe in the importance of both academics and athletics as vital elements of a comprehensive university. We’re so thankful for their leadership as dedicated alumni, volunteers and donors to their alma mater.”

“Steve and Cheryl Caplan have been incredible partners with San Jose State football over the years,” said SJSU Football Head Coach Brent Brennan. “They are helping us connect with and inspire Spartans to invest in our program, and they’re leading by example through this most generous gift. I am grateful to the Caplans, as this gift represents another step forward in providing our program the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level in the Mountain West.”

To track fundraising progress and learn how you can support Spartan football, please visit or contact Deputy Athletics Director for Athletics Advancement Josh Thiel at (408) 924-1697 or

About San Jose State University
The founding campus of the 23-campus CSU system, SJSU provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study — offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, SJSU continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State Athletics
SJSU sponsors 22 (nine men’s and 13 women’s) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually. In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I’s FBS, the NCAA’s highest level of competition.

The Spartans’ primary conference affiliation is with the Mountain West. Selected teams belong to the MPSF, the WAC, and the GCC.

SJSU has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. 62 Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. SJSU athletes have won seven gold, six silver, and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

Annually, about one third of the student-athlete population earns either an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.

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