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UC San Diego Marks Final Stretch of Record-Breaking Fundraising Campaign

The university celebrates fourth consecutive record year with all-time annual high of $376.4 million

Aerial view of UC San Diego. Photo by Erik Jepsen/University Communications.


  • Matt Nagel

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  • Matt Nagel

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As the University of California San Diego heads into the last year of its ambitious 10-year Campaign for UC San Diego, the university completed its fourth consecutive year of record-breaking philanthropy with an all-time annual high of $376.4 million raised for the fiscal year 2020-2021. UC San Diego has raised more than $2.63 billion for its current campaign, having surpassed the original $2 billion goal in July 2019.

“Transformative ideas have garnered transformative support,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The Campaign for UC San Diego is connecting visionary philanthropists and like-minded contributors with the most brilliant minds of our time. This connection seeds the resources required to explore the basis of human knowledge, address disparities in society, enrich human life, and understand and protect our planet. Our fundraising success has greatly advanced the core objectives of our institutional strategic plan.”

The Campaign is unique in both the number of donors who have given and the size of gifts provided. “The remarkable generosity of all of our donors is impacting lives near and far,” said Chancellor Khosla. “Their investments in big ideas are solving global challenges, helping underserved communities, and providing students with life-changing opportunities.”

Jeff Silberman, chair of the UC San Diego Foundation Board, said that “with another record fundraising year, the university continues its momentum toward fulfilling the chancellor’s vision to transform the campus; enhance the student experience; and ensure that the university is a world-class destination for arts and culture, health care and groundbreaking interdisciplinary research.”

“This success is about our donors coming together to invest in this vision and make it a reality,” Silberman added.

Alumni contributions have played a significant role in the university’s success, with 50 percent more donors to fundraising priorities compared to the last campaign. In addition, more than half of the volunteer leaders who comprise the Campaign for UC San Diego Cabinet are alumni. The cabinet has collectively given close to $1 billion.

Visionary Gifts Reach Across Campus

Party Hat (Orange) sculpture.

Jeff Koons, Party Hat (Orange), 1994-2019. Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann.

Irwin and Joan Jacobs amplified their visionary lifetime of support for the university by contributing more than $62 million to strengthen a variety of areas across campus. The Jacobs’ support included a $16.5 million contribution to be used at the chancellor’s discretion to address the university’s greatest needs, and a $14 million gift to the School of Global Policy and Strategy’s Peter F. Cowhey Center of Global Transformation, renamed in honor of the school’s outgoing dean. In addition, they donated the monumental sculpture, “Party Hat (Orange),” by renowned artist Jeff Koons to the Healing Arts Collection, which is housed within Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health.

Two foundational gifts from the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation propelled pioneering work across campus this year. Their gift to the 21st Century China Center represents the largest gift ever received by the School of Global Policy and Strategy and will allow the center to expand its data-based research, policy engagement and education on issues related to U.S.-China relations. The foundation also named UC San Diego one of six universities to participate in the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance, a scientific collaboration that aims to transform human health on a global scale through the discovery and translation of the biological principles underlying human performance.

Gifts Bolster “Destination UC San Diego”

UC San Diego continues to solidify its reputation as a destination for top faculty, grateful patients, ambitious students and the broader community, and donor support enhances the campus’ world-class facilities and provides our region with rich cultural opportunities.

A new Jacobs School of Engineering building, named in honor of the generous support of alumnus Franklin Antonio, is nearing completion. Gifts from titans of industry and academia, Shu and K.C. Chien and Peter Farrell, will name the Chien-Farrell Collaboratory, one of 12 collaboratories, to bring faculty, students, researchers and industry partners together to support programmatic expansion of engineering and medicine on campus.

The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood continues to evolve into a unique and vibrant community through philanthropic support. Twelve pieces of art from the Soviet Impressionism and Socialist Realism periods will find a home in the new Arts and Humanities Building, thanks to longtime UC San Diego supporters Ann and Joel Reed. Further cementing UC San Diego’s capacity as a destination for arts, a gift from Arthur and Jeannie Rivkin named “The Jeannie” — a 600-seat auditorium in the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood that will feature artist Alexis Smith’s dramatic and vibrant 22- by 62-foot mural, “Same Old Paradise.”

Epstein Family Ampitheater

The Epstein Family Amphitheater. Credit: Safdie Rabines Architects.

Daniel and Phyllis Epstein have committed to provide a $10 million gift to name a new state-of-the-art amphitheater at UC San Diego, signaling a major step in the university’s plan to become a top cultural destination. The new Epstein Family Amphitheater will continue the family’s long-time commitment to the arts.


Advancing Cultural Understanding and Community Service

As UC San Diego advances opportunities for international collaborations that benefit our global society, significant gifts to establish and sustain binational projects are helping the campus build partnerships across borders.

Longtime campus supporters Chiu-Shan Chen, Ph.D. ’69, and Rufina Chen have committed $5 million to the Division of Arts and Humanities to establish the Center for Taiwan Studies. The initiative aims to expand cultural understanding of Taiwan and Taiwanese Americans.

Community Stations

The Community Stations initiative operates out of the UC San Diego Center on Global Justice. Photo taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has renewed its support of the Community Stations initiative with a $5-million grant for the next five years. Under the direction of political scientist Fonna Forman and architect-urbanist Teddy Cruz, and operating out of the UC San Diego Center on Global Justice, the initiative seeks to make meaningful change in partnership with underserved communities across the border region.

Improving Lives Through Innovative Health Initiatives

Physician-scientists at UC San Diego continue to push the boundaries of medical science, translating laboratory discoveries into therapies for patients. Funding to support groundbreaking scientific research has the potential to yield breakthroughs that offer new options for treating a number of diseases.

Hanna and Mark Gleiberman’s $12 million gift to name the Gleiberman Head and Neck Cancer Center at Moores Cancer Center will advance personalized care options for patients. Specifically, their gift supports innovative clinical trials, a new fellowship program, seed funding for junior faculty, patient services and resources, and research funding, as well as services not covered by health insurance for those who cannot afford them.

A three-year, $7.2 million grant from the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative will fund research across three UC San Diego laboratories and two others based in Germany with a goal to inform a path to a cure for Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disorder affecting millions. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is the implementation partner for the grant.

The new Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy is the result of a $3.25 million gift to support the discovery of novel treatment options that will slow or halt the progression of heart disease. It will be the first cardiomyopathy center in San Diego, providing leading research and treatment in the region.

The Power of a Philanthropic Community


Self-administered COVID-19 test kits are available at vending machines throughout campus. Photo by Erik Jepsen/University Communications. 

As UC San Diego continued to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, our community came together to help fight an unprecedented global challenge, showcasing the tremendous power of philanthropy.

Since March 2020, more than 1,800 donors raised $6.5 million for pandemic-related efforts, which included $1.8 million in donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund alone. Gifts helped purchase testing kits, hospital equipment and monitoring technology as well as improved student access to food, housing and other resources. More recently, response efforts have focused on the university’s leading-edge Return to Learn program and vaccination distribution initiatives, including vaccine superstations and mobile clinics designed to provide equitable access for the region’s more vulnerable communities.

And on May 13, the community came together for our annual giving day,, to choose their cause and impact broad areas across UC San Diego and UC San Diego Health, raising more than $2 million from more than 7,750 gifts.

Ensuring Support for Students

Chancellor Khosla and students

The Chancellor’s Scholarship and Fellowship Challenge was launched in February 2021. Photo by Erik Jepsen/University Communications, taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2021, Chancellor Khosla launched the Chancellor’s Scholarship and Fellowship Challenge, which provides a $1 match to every $2 of qualified gifts donated to expand support for undergraduate and graduate students up to $5 million. The challenge match is being paired with two more opportunities designed to increase support for the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program, which was established in 2014 by Chancellor Khosla and provides scholarships ($10,000 per year) to low-income and first-generation enrollees.

One opportunity is being provided by Karen and Jeff Silberman who are following up their first, successful Chancellor’s Associates Inspiration Challenge in 2017, with a second inspiration challenge this year to spur continued support. And Chancellor’s Associates donors may also take advantage of additional matching funds, thanks to the Timmons/Sandstrom Chancellor’s Associates Endowment Challenge — a $1 million match opportunity created by Campaign Cabinet Vice Chairs Sandy Timmons ’81, and her husband, Rick Sandstrom ’72, Ph.D. ’79. Both challenge matches will continue through the close of the Campaign for UC San Diego on June 30, 2022.

As UC San Diego heads into the final year of the Campaign — and with a $3 billion milestone within reach — donor support is critical to our campus’ efforts to enhance student support, ensure student success, transform our campus, connect our community, and redefine medicine and health care on a global scale.

“Thanks to our philanthropic community, the Campaign for UC San Diego has already exceeded our expectations,” said Chancellor Khosla. “While we have raised more than $2.6 billion to support our campus, there remain key opportunities for donors to help us fulfill our mission as a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.”

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