UCSD Raises Record $213 Million in Private Donations

UCSD raised $213 million in private donations during the 2015–16 fiscal year according to an Oct. 5 press release, the highest amount the university has ever received and a 20-percent increase from last year. In the form of nearly 46,000 gifts from private funds, foundations and alumni, the money will “help ensure the university’s position as an academic and research powerhouse,” the Department of Communications and Public Affairs said.

As of June 30, 2016, the end of the fiscal year, UCSD’s total combined endowment is $1.177 billion, a sum managed by the UC San Diego Foundation and the UC Regents. The donations come after the inauguration of a comprehensive fundraising campaign that aims to raise $2 billion over a 10-year period.

The biggest beneficiary of this year’s donations is research, receiving $129 million, with $47 million going to department support and $16.8 million to student support. The fields of health sciences and physical sciences will receive $93.3 million and $35.5 million of the donations, respectively. Marine sciences at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography will receive $26.4 million.  

Projects like the Contextual Robotics Institute, which will develop “human-friendly robotics systems to advance how humans live,” and a new observatory in Chile, where researchers will try to understand the first moments of time after the Big Bang by measuring cosmic microwave background, are two examples of ways in which the university will spend the donations.

“Great things are happening at UC San Diego,” Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said in the press release. “We experienced a truly amazing year highlighted by a record-breaking increase in charitable gifts.”

Of all the donors, foundations donated the most during the course of the last fiscal year, giving $108.7 million in a 57-percent increase from last year. The Simons Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation gave $40 million combined to fund the construction of the Chilean observatory, to be named the Simons Observatory.

Private donors designated a total of $93.3 million. Entrepreneurs and philanthropists Gary and Mary West gave the university $11.8 million to fund the construction of a state-of-the-art emergency care unit for seniors, which will be housed in the emergency department of the forthcoming Jacobs Medical Center. The Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit aims to enhance care for seniors while conducting medical research in partnership with the West Health Institute based in La Jolla.

Endowed gifts totaled $39 million, with over $7 million going toward the establishment of faculty chairs to help “recruit and retain stellar scholars,” according to the press release. Richard and Carol Dean Hertzberg pledged $5 million to create a new Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which included $1.5 million to establish the presidential chair for Climate Change Adaptation.

“We owe it to future generations to better understand the impacts of climate change, as well as to develop and implement strategies for adaptation,” the Hertzbergs said in a joint statement. “Indeed, we believe this new Center will have a powerful impact locally, regionally, nationally and globally.”

In another environmentally-minded donation, Joy Frieman gave $2.5 million in honor of her late husband to fund the creation of the Edward A. Frieman Endowed Presidential Chair in Climate Sustainability. Edward Frieman, the director of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography from 1986 to 1996, served as a national advisor of defense, energy and science policy with the Carter and Reagan administrations. He died in 2013 at age 87.

Frieman’s donations include $500,000 toward a $2 million endowed postdoctoral fellowship and $500,000 toward a $1 million graduate fellowship at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Donations totaled $16.8 million “to help UC San Diego Students,” the press release stated, with a $4.3 million bequest from Mary Andrews Haag intended to give undergraduates the opportunity to earn merit-based scholarships.

Alumni gave 12,837 gifts, donating a total of $4.8 million.