UC Santa Cruz raises more than $13 million from private donors

Environmental research, graduate student fellowships, and library improvements were among initiatives receiving strong support from private donors at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during the 2001-02 fiscal year. Overall, the campus received $13.1 million in private support.

"This generous support for research and teaching at UCSC is particularly impressive in a time of economic uncertainty," said Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood. "It recognizes our commitment to increase understanding of our environment, and promotes the enhancement of our library collections and of graduate education, among many other important priorities."

UCSC received significant support from local donors.

Santa Cruz businessman Ramesh Bhojwani established the Bhojwani Family Endowed Graduate Fellowship to help financially needy students who are the first in their families to attend graduate school. In addition to his $200,000 award for the fellowship, Bhojwani contributed $100,000 toward construction of the new University Center at UCSC. In consideration of the gift, Ramesh Bhojwani has requested that the University Center dining room be named for his father, Hemandas Doulatram Bhojwani.

Another key campus initiative benefited from local generosity. The estate of longtime library supporter Dorothy Emigh provided $128,483, the first major donation to the McHenry Library Expansion Campaign. Planned library enhancements include an interactive computer center where librarians work in partnership with students and a digitization and preservation laboratory for Special Collections.

UCSC's environmental research also drew considerable support, including $1 million from the W. M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles for ongoing research on the environmental toxicology of trace metals. The grant will enable the campus to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for conducting trace metal research, an area in which UCSC has been a world leader for many years.

New instrumentation obtained with the grant will enable UCSC researchers to continue to make major advances in understanding the global cycling of trace metals throughout the environment and their effects on biological systems. Trace metals include toxic elements such as lead and mercury, as well as biologically essential elements that can be toxic at high concentrations.

"This award builds on the strengths of the UCSC campus for interdisciplinary research on trace metals in the environment," said Russell Flegal, professor and chair of environmental toxicology, who will coordinate the award.

Integrating science, technology, engineering, policy, and society ("STEPS") to solve environmental problems was the goal of a $500,000 gift from alumnus Gordon Ringold and his wife, Tanya Zarucki. Their donation helped launch the new STEPS Institute for Innovation in Environmental Research.

The institute will focus on the three global environmental changes caused by human activities over the past century: climate change enhanced by our expanding industrial societies; the genetic restructuring of all ecosystems caused by the global transport of species and changing global environments; and transformation of all the Earth's major water systems through alteration of rivers and lakes, increased use of oceanic resources, and diffusion of environmental toxins.

"The STEPS Institute is one that I feel really builds on the tremendous diversity and strength in the environmental sciences that UCSC has already established," said Ringold.

Medical research at UCSC garnered private funding as well, with environmental toxicologist Karen Ottemann receiving a grant from the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholars Program in Global Infectious Disease. The grant, providing $50,000 per year for four years, supports Ottemann's research into a common bacterium that can cause stomach inflammation and ulcers and increases the risk of stomach cancer.

Individual donors provide crucial support to the campus each year. In the last fiscal year, such gifts to the Annual Fund, including gifts from UCSC Alumni Association councilors, other alumni, UC Santa Cruz Foundation trustees, parents, and friends, totaled over $1.3 million. This includes $93,493 for the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.

Trustees of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, which supports UCSC through its private fundraising efforts, gave over $1.1 million to the campus this past year.

"We are extremely grateful to the many individuals and organizations that have provided crucial support for UCSC," said Ronald P. Suduiko, UCSC's vice chancellor for University Relations. "Although we are a public institution, only about 40 percent of campus funds are provided by the state of California. We rely upon private philanthropy to ensure a top-quality learning environment for our students and support for our academic initiatives."

The bulk of the private contributions to UCSC during the 2002 fiscal year came from the following sources: foundations, $4.7 million; individuals, $4.6 million; and the business sector, $1.9 million. Other sources, including community and campus organizations, gave a total of $1.9 million.