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Brian and Nancy Malk Donate to UC San Diego Department of Economics, Naming Malk Hall

The gift will fuel the campus’s nationally ranked Department of Economics, which will be housed in Brian C. Malk Hall upon its completion

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La Jolla resident and businessman Brian C. Malk and his wife, Nancy, have pledged a philanthropic gift to support the expansion of the University of California San Diego’s Department of Economics.

“We are grateful to Brian and Nancy Malk for their generous support of UC San Diego,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “This gift will propel our nationally ranked Department of Economics to continue its growing education and research missions focused on making a positive impact for people around the globe.”

Slated for completion in 2026 as part of UC San Diego’s Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood, Brian C. Malk Hall will be located in the interior of campus, just west of Geisel Library. Named in recognition of the family’s support, Malk Hall will house the Department of Economics, a part of the UC San Diego School of Social Sciences.

“Malk Hall will provide a collaborative space for our faculty, students and our many partners as we strive to foster the thought leaders and changemakers of tomorrow,” said Carol Padden, dean of the School of Social Sciences.

Economics is the third most popular major at UC San Diego. With a history of academic excellence, including two Nobel Prizes awarded to its faculty over the decades, the department has long been regarded for its strength in econometrics, a focus within the discipline of economics that provides the computational and theoretical basis for robust economics theory.

In recent years, the department has expanded on this strong foundation to harness theory to practical applications. Work in environmental, labor, health and education economics, for example, strengthens real-world efforts to address climate change, reduces income inequality, improves our collective and individual well-being, and levels society’s capacities through more effective learning.

In 2023, U.S. News & World Report ranked the UC San Diego Department of Economics the nation’s 14th best PhD program, 4th best undergraduate program among public universities and 18th best undergraduate program overall.

Establishing Malk Hall

Nancy and Brian Malk, seated together
Nancy and Brian Malk

Having immigrated to La Jolla from South Africa with his family in the late 1970’s, Brian Malk went on to build a successful business in commercial real estate. His strong connection with the UC San Diego campus was forged over many decades living nearby in La Jolla. In particular, during the last several years, Brian began enjoying long walks on campus, accompanied by his dog, Wally.

“While observing each new building taking shape on campus, I became fascinated with the diverse styles of architecture, the thoughtful landscape designs, as well as the creative hardscapes, with its whimsical amenities like hammocks under the trees, providing students with places to relax,” recalled Brian.

“The UC San Diego campus had become a second home for me – a place where I could sit quietly if I wanted, cheer the soccer teams in the late afternoon, or talk with students when they came over to pet Wally,” he said. “It was then that I realized I wanted to become involved and to contribute to this wonderful university, which had become an integral part of my daily life.”

As the new home to the Department of Economics, Malk Hall will also include the Hub Basic Needs Center and the Triton Food Pantry, which are designed to ensure all UC San Diego students have the most essential resources required to thrive, including access to nutritious food, stable housing and financial wellness resources.

“Malk Hall will be a magnet for students, faculty and thinkers from across campus and from around the world,” stated Marc Muendler, chair of the Department of Economics. “The Malk family's donation allows us to chart a new course in Economics as our department turns 60, and we are deeply grateful. Brian Malk and his family hold a special place as our department's friends.”

Regarding the gift, Brian Malk recalled a favorite quote, by Albert Einstein: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

To learn more about the Department of Economics at UC San Diego, please visit

Rendering of Malk Hall
Malk Hall, located in UC San Diego’s Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood, will be home to the Department of Economics.
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