Private donors gave nearly $24 million in gifts and pledges to support UC Santa Cruz in fiscal year 2011-2012, an increase of 9.4 percent from the previous year. Alumni giving nearly tripled -- from $2.5 million to $7.3 million, and alumni giving increased from 11 percent of the total to 30 percent.

Gifts of $100,000 or more increased to more than $15 million. Over the past two years, private giving has increased almost 20 percent, with donors responding enthusiastically to campus fundraising efforts.

“It’s been my experience that people give money for what they’re passionate about, and we are fortunate our campus offers so many inspiring reasons to give,” UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal said.

Philanthropic highlights include:

Other notable gifts include:
  • The Guru Nanak Heritage Fund for Sikh and Punjabi Studies -- a $247,000 gift from the Bay Area Sikh and Punjabi community -- will focus on academic research in Sikh culture and faith, Sikhs in North America, and Punjabi cultural heritage and language.
  • Dr. J. Joseph and Ethel Shelley donated $200,000 in memory of their grandson, Terence "Terry" Freitas (Crown '97, biology, environmental studies). A passionate and talented leader, Terry was murdered in 1999 at the age of 24 while performing educational and social justice work in Colombia. The university dedicated the Terry Freitas Café in his honor, and is using the funds to create the first permanent endowments for both Colleges Nine and Ten.
  • Emmy-nominated television producer Brannon Braga (Crown, ‘90)—“Star Trek the Next Generation” and “Terra Nova”—pledged $100,000 to the Arts Excellence Fund.
The Class of 2012 established its legacy at UC Santa Cruz by raising almost $10,000 for the Senior Legacy Fund. Class members used these funds to distribute $2,500 scholarships to three students who exemplify the four tenets of S.L.U.G life—Spirit, Legacy, Unity, and Giving.

A substantial $11.1 million, not included in the overall giving total, was pledged in planned gifts -- an increase of $3.8 million from last year. Most of these commitments were from alumni and included a $5 million bequest intention, the largest ever. In addition, four donors made irrevocable gifts totaling $190,000 and four bequests were realized adding nearly $300,000 to current gift totals.

Donors are not the only ones recognizing UCSC this year.  Times Higher Education ranked UCSC 7th in the world for best universities under 50 years old. The Princeton Review named UCSC a top best-value public university nationwide, a top sustainable university in California, and among the top 10 in the nation for its graduate programs in game design. UCSC ranked first in the world among younger universities in the key citation index that measures the influence of an institution's research.

“Looking ahead to our 50th anniversary in 2015, I know private support will play an ever-greater role in our ability to realize our ambitions and broaden our impact,” Chancellor Blumenthal said. “UCSC graduates are an essential part of the well-educated workforce California needs.”