Pulling up chairs

UCSC has recently created several new endowed chairs, part of its commitment to attracting and retaining top faculty

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Baumgarten Murray

Murray Baumgarten, distinguished professor of English and comparative literature (photo by Elena Zhukova)

How does a university attract and keep the very best faculty—the brightest stars, those who are leaders in their fields, internationally recognized, and widely acknowledged as excellent teachers as well as accomplished researchers?

One answer is endowed chairs—gifts that honor and recognize the distinction of top faculty while providing invaluable financial support above and beyond salary, for use in research, teaching, or service activities.

Here are a few recently instituted endowed chairs at UCSC.

A solid foundation for Jewish studies

Murray Baumgarten, distinguished professor of English and comparative literature, started the Jewish studies program and undergraduate minor and major.

In recognition of Baumgarten's vision, a gift from the Helen Diller Family Foundation established a substantial Jewish studies program on campus.

Now Baumgarten's legacy is being honored by the establishment of the Baumgarten Endowed Chair for Jewish Studies, which will anchor the leadership for the Center for Jewish Studies at UCSC.

Gifts from nearly 200 individuals and several foundations have contributed to the chair.

Supporting the entrepreneurs of the future

UCSC students with great business-related ideas ideally develop their ventures with a combination of "real world" experience, industry partnerships, and intensive learning.

Last year, Narinder Singh Kapany, a former UCSC professor and currently a UC Santa Cruz Foundation trustee, showed his support for enterprising students by making a $500,000 gift to establish a professorship in entrepreneurship.

A pioneering fiber-optics researcher, and an entrepreneur in his own right, Kapany will help entrepreneurship programs grow and thrive.

UCSC offers courses in business development and business planning, as well as seminars and other opportunities for students to meet with venture capitalists, business managers, and experienced entrepreneurs.

"Students learn how to turn good ideas into viable business plans," said Brent Haddad, associate dean of engineering for technology management.

Kapany also endowed the Narinder Singh Kapany Chair in Optoelectronics at the Baskin School of Engineering in 1999.

Boost for GIIP

UCSC is known for its commitment to social justice as well as its emphasis on information technology—so it makes sense that these disciplines would converge in one program.

The Global Information Internship Program (GIIP) combines practical technological training with social justice ventures to create a new generation of "digital social entrepreneurs."

Now this ambitious project is getting a boost from GIIP Global Advisory Board co-chair Mark Headley (Stevenson '83, politics and economics) and his wife, Christina Pehl. The couple recently made a gift to the program that will establish the Dorothy E. Everett Endowed Chair.

The endowment will support the management, staffing, instruction, and other needs of GIIP, which mentors students in information technology and social entrepreneurship to advance social justice, sustainable development, peace, and gender equity.

Even before his recent gift, Headley was a longstanding GIIP supporter.

Increased impact

Philanthropist Jack Baskin has given more than $10 million to UCSC, including a gift to name the Jack Baskin School of Engineering as well as the Jack Baskin Chair in Computer Engineering.

But the engineering chair, with a gift from Baskin, has grown in value so dramatically that UCSC's engineering department has decided to "split" the chair endowment to increase its impact, effectively creating two chairs for distinguished faculty.

Each chair will have an endowment of nearly $1 million.

Professor Patrick Mantey, the founding chair of computer engineering and the first dean of engineering at UCSC, says this approach will make maximum use of the endowment's annual disbursement.

"There were enough funds to leverage this gift and achieve even more impact by adding the second chair," Mantey said. "It also gave recognition and encouragement to a second distinguished faculty member in the department."

The endowment supports teaching, research, and service activities. Mantey continues to hold the first chair, and Professor J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves now holds the "Computer Engineering II" chair.