UCSC announces Baskins’ $1 million engineering gift at Scholarship Benefit Dinner

Other donors provide an additional $160,000 to support UCSC student scholarships at 8th annual fundraising gala

Jack Baskin and Peggy Downes Baskin with UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal at the 2011 Scholarship Benefit Dinner held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. (Photo by Steve Kurtz)
 UCSC opera students Allie Jessing and Natalie Erskine sing "The Flower Duet" from Lakmé beneath projected images provided by UCSC astronomers during the benefit gala. (Photo by Steve Kurtz)


UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal announced a special $1 million gift from Jack and Peggy Downes Baskin for engineering graduate fellowships at the campus’s eighth annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner.

Nearly 350 people turned out for UCSC’s annual fundraising gala, which took place Saturday night at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.

Attendees and sponsors contributed over $160,000 to directly support undergraduate student scholarships at the dinner--one of UCSC's premier fundraising events.

In announcing the Baskins’ gift, Chancellor Blumenthal noted that their generosity has already propelled the careers of more than 2,200 engineers who have graduated from the Baskin School of Engineering since 1997.

“This new gift establishes the Jack Baskin and Peggy Downes Baskin Fellowships--the largest fund for graduate-student support in the history of the campus,” said Blumenthal.

“Peggy and Jack are particularly committed to bringing more women into the field of engineering, and that was on their mind when they made this gift,” he added.

“We are working hard to expand the pipeline for girls and women, with outreach to high schools and scholarships for undergraduates.”

Astronaut and UCSC alumna Kathryn D. Sullivan--the first woman to walk in space--was the keynote speaker at the annual Scholarship Benefit dinner.

Sullivan was nominated in December by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction.

UCSC alumnus Stephen Abreu--industry contracts manager for UC San Francisco’s Diabetes Center and Immune Tolerance Network--served as emcee for the evening.

More than $160,000 has been raised so far for undergraduate student scholarships from the dinner, and donations are still coming in.

Additional contributions may be directed to Kathleen R. Hughes at (831) 459-4552 or khughes@ucsc.edu.