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  • Judy Piercey

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  • Judy Piercey

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Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs posing for picture with the Triton baseball team

Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs. Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Stepping Up to the Plate to Support Students

Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs give $2 million to help scholar-athletes and graduate students

University of California San Diego alumnus Gary Jacobs and his wife, Jerri-Ann, believe that education provides a path to upward social mobility. Throughout the years, they have supported formal education for students to acquire skills and choices for careers, as well as opportunities to find their passion and create self-confidence. Most recently, the couple gave UC San Diego $2 million to fund scholarships for scholar-athletes, and graduate fellowships and programs in the Division of Social Sciences. These gifts contribute to the Campaign for UC San Diego.

smiling students posing for selfie

Empowering the next generation of changemakers by enhancing student support and ensuring student success is a campus priority.

Empowering the next generation of changemakers by enhancing student support and ensuring student success is a campus priority. Through scholarships and fellowships, UC San Diego can continue to attract and retain a talented student community that is inclusive of California’s diversity.

“I am deeply devoted to ensuring access to UC San Diego and promoting student well-being, now and long into the future,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “As we strive to meet the evolving needs of our students, we thank generous donors like Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs for the investment in UC San Diego, and our students.”

A 1979 UC San Diego graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Management Science, Gary Jacobs played intramural soccer and volleyball in his student days; he also helped to run a campus program that provided baseball umpires to local little leagues, adult leagues and even some college games. The Jacobs intend to provide $1 million in charitable support to UC San Diego Athletics. The gifts will establish the Jerri-Ann and Gary Jacobs Family Baseball Scholarship Endowment, the sport’s largest scholarship endowment. They hope their undergraduate scholarship support will serve as encouragement and inspiration to deserving UC San Diego students for generations to come.

Champions of Triton baseball through their support and involvement, the couple is thrilled that Triton Athletics is transitioning to Division 1. “As a Division III school when I was a student and now as a Division II school, athletics were not a unifying tradition for both students and alumni,” said Gary Jacobs. “We believe the move to Division I will provide excitement on campus and an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with UC San Diego. Plus, our ability to be on ESPN 3 consistently will enhance the visibility of the amazing students, staff, faculty and research done at UC San Diego.”

The move to Division I is a source of pride for our university—but also creates a critical need to raise scholarship funds for recruitment efforts. Per NCAA rules, a full scholarship can be the student’s cost of attendance at UC San Diego, estimated currently at $31,887 for California residents ($61,641 for non-Calif. residents). The Big West Conference requires an institution to fund NCAA scholarship maximum limits for seven specific sports: Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Baseball, Softball and Women’s Volleyball.

first pitch of Triton baseball season

UC San Diego alumnus Gary Jacobs with his wife, Jerri-Ann, threw out the first pitch at the Triton baseball season opener Feb. 1. The local philanthropists have been longtime supporters of baseball at our university.

Loyal supporters of Social Sciences, the couple intends to provide $1 million in charitable support to the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences. Their gifts will continue to support the existing Jerri-Ann and Gary E. Jacobs Endowed Fellowship Fund, and as well as programmatic expansion in the Division of Social Sciences.

Jerri-Ann Jacobs shared what she and her husband believe is the greatest benefit of this fellowship for the Division. “UC San Diego is always competing for the most competitive graduate students,” she said. “We often hear how we lost a potential future superstar to another university because they were able to offer a better financial package, even though the graduate student really wanted to study with a UC San Diego professor. Our fellowship provides the additional resources to attract these stellar students.”

Research, teaching and service in the public interest drives UC San Diego’s Division of Social Sciences, which was founded in 1986. Gary Jacobs confirms that his major has been helpful throughout his career and his philanthropy. “Interestingly enough, the theory I learned in Management Science I have used mostly in the nonprofit sector. Organizational management and development is where I have had the most impact on the nonprofit organizations. It has also come in very handy when I work with business incubators and startup companies.”

In recognition of the Jacobs’ continuing support of Social Sciences, UC San Diego will seek to name the teaching preparation laboratory in the Social Sciences Public Engagement Building—part of the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood—the Jerri-Ann and Gary Jacobs Family Teaching Preparation Laboratory. It will be part of UC San Diego’s Education Studies Department, which has credentialed more than 2,500 teachers since 1972, helping to educate innumerable K-12 students throughout Southern California and beyond.

Gary Jacobs founded and is managing director of Jacobs Investment Company LLC, with over $100 million dollars of investments, primarily in the United States and Israel. He is also the owner of the Class A San Diego Padres affiliate, the Lake Elsinore Storm. After earning a bachelor’s degree in management science from UC San Diego in 1979, he went to work for Linkabit then Qualcomm, moving from programmer to software engineer, and then becoming senior educational specialist working with schools to improve their math and science programs. Jacobs serves on many boards for both private and public companies. In addition, he is the Chair of the Continental Board for Jewish Community Centers of North America.

Jacobs posing for photo

Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs

Jerri-Ann Jacobs serves as a Parent Volunteer at High Tech Elementary. Within the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, she serves on the advisory council for the J*Company Youth Theater and is co-chair of the J*Company Alumni Committee. At the JCC, she also serves on the Cultural Arts Committee and the San Diego Jewish Teen Initiative. She is a board member of Heart of a Child, a charity that raises annual support to provide musical therapists at Rady Children’s Hospital; in addition, she volunteers for many other organizations in the community. She is a graduate of San Diego State University.

Since 2000, Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs have focused almost exclusively on philanthropic work. In September 2000, the couple founded the Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High Charter School, which prepares students for careers in the high tech and biotech industries. There are now four campuses serving over 6,000 K-12 students.

The Jacobs serve as vice chairs for the Campaign for UC San Diego Cabinet. “The three ways to help the campaign are promote, connect and donate. We talk about UC San Diego and all the great breakthroughs for humanity to help the world—these occur in all divisions from social science to engineering. In our travels, we connect UC San Diego to individuals and families and talk about how philanthropy is critical for the university to meet its mission of a student-centered and research-oriented public university. And, of course, we give to UC San Diego,” said Jerri-Ann Jacobs.

Gary Jacobs added, “We believe the transformation of the campus will provide more opportunities for community engagement. We actively encourage others to find their connection to UC San Diego.”

Through the Campaign for UC San Diego—the university-wide comprehensive fundraising effort concluding in 2022—we are enhancing student support, ensuring student success, transforming our campus, connecting our community, and redefining medicine and health care on a global scale. Together with our philanthropic partners, UC San Diego will continue our nontraditional path toward revolutionary ideas, unexpected answers, lifesaving discoveries and planet-changing impact. Visit the campaign website.

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