UC Santa Cruz launches $300-million fundraising campaign

First comprehensive campaign for UCSC has already raised more than $150 million to support students, research, other initiatives

UCSC students

The Campaign for UC Santa Cruz has a goal to raise $300 million to support transformative experiences for UCSC students.
(Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

The University of California, Santa Cruz, today announced the launch of its first comprehensive fundraising campaign, an ambitious effort to raise $300 million to support students, research activities, other academic programs, and campus facilities.

"This campaign will strengthen UCSC's impact in core areas that define us: our extraordinary undergraduate experience, our high-impact research, and our leadership and commitment to environmental and social responsibility," UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal said. (Click here for a list of campaign priorities.)

Formal launch

Blumenthal officially launched the campaign during an on-campus luncheon with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors, as well as members of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, community leaders and elected officials, other friends of the campus, and special guests. The luncheon, outside University House, on a beautiful Santa Cruz afternoon, was one of a number of events that took place during UCSC's annual Founders celebration.

New UC President Janet Napolitano attended the festivities during a two-day visit to campus during which she visited with students, staff, and faculty. "You have a great chancellor, a great faculty, great research facilities, and a great student body," Napolitano told luncheon guests. "Let's add some money and mix." 

Blumenthal told guests "UC Santa Cruz has always been an incubator for new ways of thinking, new ways of learning, and new ways of taking action in the world.

"This campaign has focused our attention on the future. It has energized us and unified us."

Taryn Jones, a 2013 graduate who grew up in Tracy and now attends Hastings College of the Law, told guests she is living proof how education changes lives.  "This university changed me. It shaped me. It challenged me. It gave me the confidence to succeed. It opened my eyes. And now I see my future," she said.

More than 40,000 donors

Since July 2009, when the campus began the campaign's "organizational and quiet phase" to prioritize needs and establish fundraising goals, more than 40,000 donors have contributed more than $150 million — bringing the campaign halfway to its goal. Because of that success, UC Regents last month gave UCSC the go-ahead to take the $300 million campaign public.

The Campaign for UC Santa Cruz" is designed to build upon UCSC's founding principles and its rising status as one of the world’s top research universities, Chancellor Blumenthal said. Its theme, "GIVE: Don't Give In," is a tribute to UCSC's founders' vision of a campus that values innovation and contributing to the social good over the status quo.

"Nearly 50 years ago, when UCSC opened its doors to its first class, the campus was founded as a public university committed to progressive, bold inquiry that benefits both the individual and the planet," Blumenthal said. "Private support will enable us to broaden our impact. This campaign will fund more path-breaking research and scholarship and enable us to reach more students. UC Santa Cruz is widely recognized for its commitment to undergraduates and for the value it places on environmental and social responsibility. This campaign is an investment in these hallmarks of UC Santa Cruz."

The right time

Paul Hall (Merrill, '72), president of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board of Trustees and a campaign leader said: "The campus is at the level of maturity, not just in age but in terms of development of programs, that make this the right time for a campaign. UCSC makes huge contributions to society through its unique interdisciplinary research and its service to our state as a leading public research university — all richly deserving of support."

The Campaign for UC Santa Cruz is designed to enhance the experience of undergraduates on campus and the quality of every academic division; it also seeks support for signature initiatives in genomics, coastal sustainability, data sciences, and the arts and sciences. Undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, endowed support for academic programs and faculty positions, and the restoration of key facilities are included in the portfolio of giving opportunities.

"It's not just the right time, it's about time," said Linda Peterson (Stevenson, '70), a UCSC trustee and chair of the Campaign Steering Committee. "UCSC faculty and students have been doing extraordinary things for many years, and I hope this campaign will make those contributions more visible. We've been too shy too long."

Keeping UCSC's core strong, and elevating support in areas where it already has global impact, will require ongoing and major investment, Peterson said. "We compete for the best and brightest—faculty, students, grants, everything," she said. "It takes money. We can't stand still."

Generous supporters

Since the campaign began in July 2009, more than 40,000 donors have made gifts of every size to the campus. Major gifts include:

•    The Helen and Will Webster Foundation's gift of $5 million, supporting the rebuilding the historic hay barn on South Campus into a home for sustainability studies.

•    Two new faculty chairs, the Narinder Kapany Professorship in Entrepreneurship and the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, each funded by $500,000 gifts.

•    $3 million in commitments toward rebuilding the marine mammal research pools and expanding classrooms on the Coastal Campus.

•    A gift of $1 million from Rowland and Patricia Rebele that will jumpstart efforts to build the campus's new Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

•    Alumna and Foundation Trustee Linda Peterson has provided a planned gift, expected to be $5 million, to support the students and faculty at Stevenson College and the Department of History.

For more information, please go to: campaign.ucsc.edu.