John Arrillaga

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Arrillaga
Born(1937-04-03)April 3, 1937
DiedJanuary 24, 2022(2022-01-24) (aged 84)
EducationStanford University
Occupation(s)Real estate developer, philanthropist
  • Frances Marion Cook
    (m. 1968; died 1995)
  • Gioia Fasi
Children2, including Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen
RelativesMarc Andreessen (son-in-law)

John Arrillaga (April 3, 1937 – January 24, 2022) was an American billionaire real estate developer and philanthropist who was one of the largest landowners in Silicon Valley.[1] He was also a college basketball player when he attended Stanford University.

Early life and education[edit]

Arrillaga was born on April 3, 1937, in Inglewood, California,[2][3] one of five children in a lower-middle-class home with his mother, Freida, and father, Gabriel, who traced his roots to the Basque region.[1][4] His mother was a former nurse who worked laundry to support the family, while his father worked at a produce market.[5] He attended Morningside High School in Inglewood, and graduated in 1955.[3] He attended Stanford University on a basketball scholarship,[6] and was a first-team all-conference selection in the Athletic Association of Western Universities in 1960.[7] He was a member of Delta Tau Delta, and graduated in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in geography.[6]


Arrillaga started his career selling insurance before buying his first property—a run-down commercial building, which he fixed and let for rent to buy a second building.[8]

Arrillaga established his career as a real estate developer starting in the 1960s, partnering with Richard Peery in acquiring California farmland which they converted into office space. Their partnership took off with the growth of the semiconductor industry and other high-tech businesses, such as Intel,[2] in what became known as Silicon Valley.[6] Arrillaga and Peery converted thousands of acres of farmland into office space in cities such as Mountain View, San Jose, and Sunnyvale to meet the industry's needs.[2] Over a period of 50 years, their partnership, Peery Arrillaga, built over 20 million square feet of commercial real estate, becoming one of Silicon Valley's biggest commercial landlords.[9][5][8] In 2006, he sold over five million square feet of his real estate holdings for roughly $1.1 billion to the real estate division of Deutsche Bank.[6][2] In 2020 Arrillaga ranked No. 339 on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America.[6] In October 2020, his net worth was $2.5 billion.[6]


Arrillaga was known for his support of his alma mater, Stanford University.[10] The Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center is named in memory of his first wife. The Stanford Department of Athletics is housed in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center.[11] Many other athletic facilities carry his surname, in addition to some that helped to renovate or rebuild.[8] Altogether he built, or made the major donation to, 200 Stanford projects. He also endowed 57 full scholarships, 38 of them athletic scholarships; notable recipients included Tiger Woods, Katie Ledecky, and Christian McCaffrey. He personally supervised the major renovation of Stanford Stadium in 2005–2006 with an insistence that it be completed in nine months, so as not to cause any disruption to the football season.[3]

In May 2006, Arrillaga gave $100 million to Stanford University[12] and followed it with a $151 million donation in 2013, the largest individual donation from a living donor in the university's history.[13][6] The university awarded him the 'Degree of Uncommon Man' in 2009 for his contributions to the university.[5]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1968, Arrillaga married Frances Marion Cook, a teacher and librarian.[14] She died on October 13, 1995, in their Palo Alto home of lung cancer at age 54.[14] They had two children together, John Jr. and Laura.[14] Their daughter Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen is married to Marc Andreessen, who helped to create the Mosaic web browser and co-founded Netscape; he is co-founder of several other web technology enterprises.[15] Their son John Arrillaga Jr. is married to Justine Stamen Arrillaga, founder of the TEAK Fellowship.[16] After the death of his first wife, Arrillaga married Gioia Fasi, a former lawyer from Honolulu, Hawaii.[1]

Arrillaga died in Portola Valley on January 24, 2022, at the age of 84.[2][17]


  1. ^ a b c Mangalindan, JP (July 7, 2014). "The secretive billionaire who built Silicon Valley". Fortune. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Woo, Erin (January 26, 2022). "John Arrillaga Sr., Who Helped Build Silicon Valley, Dies at 84". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Whiting, Sam (January 25, 2022). "John Arrillaga, Silicon Valley developer and top donor to Stanford University, dies at 84". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  4. ^ "Basque Studies Debut" Archived June 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (March/April 2007) Stanford Magazine. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Hagerty, James R. (January 28, 2022). "Real Estate Developer Made Early Bets on Silicon Valley". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Forbes profile: John Arrillaga". Forbes. November 10, 2020.
  7. ^ "Cal Dominates All-Big Five". The San Bernardino Daily Sun. AP. March 8, 1960. p. A-11. Retrieved December 26, 2018 – via
  8. ^ a b c "Silicon Valley real estate developer and philanthropist John Arrillaga Sr. dead at 84". The Mercury News. January 25, 2022. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  9. ^ "Forbes World's Richest People 2003". Forbes. 2003. Archived from the original on April 14, 2003.
  10. ^ Fainaru-Wada, Mark (February 25, 2001). "Silent Partner / Billionaire Arrillaga has quietly been the primary benefactor behind Stanford's athletic success". San Francisco Chronicle.
  11. ^ Bosilkovski, Igor (October 17, 2017). "Varsity Billionaires: These Forbes 400 Members Played Sports In College". Forbes. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  12. ^ "Arrillaga gives $100 million to Stanford in largest single gift ever from individual". Stanford Report. May 26, 2006.
  13. ^ Stangel, Luke. "John Arrillaga writes $150 million check to Stanford, the largest donation from a living individual ever". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "Deaths:Frances Arrillaga, philanthropist and volunteer". October 13, 1995. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  15. ^ "Marc Andreessen". Britannica. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  16. ^ "2012 In-Kind Gifts & Special Thanks". TEAK Fellowship. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  17. ^ Arrillaga-Andreessen, Laura (January 25, 2022). "John Arrillaga, 1937–2022". Medium. Retrieved January 25, 2022.