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  • Kristin Luciani

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  • Kristin Luciani

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UC San Diego Establishes Five New Endowed Faculty Chairs

Gifts totaling more than $8.5 million create new chairs at the School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering

For more than 500 years, the world’s great universities have attracted and supported distinguished educators by endowing academic chairs. Now, thanks to charitable donations totaling more than $8.5 million, five new endowed faculty chairs have been established at the University of California, San Diego. The new chairs—four at the School of Medicine and one at the Jacobs School of Engineering—will help the university to recruit and retain top faculty members in specialized areas.

UC San Diego Telemedicine Building

The UC San Diego School of Medicine
Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

“In only five decades, UC San Diego has risen in stature to become one of the top-ranked universities in the nation, and that is directly related to the quality of our faculty,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “We are deeply grateful to our donors who help us to attract and retain phenomenal scholars through endowed chairs. Their visionary support is critical to advancing UC San Diego’s overall academic excellence.”

Setting a precedent of private support for scholarly excellence, the university’s first endowed chair was established in 1981. These endowed positions help attract and retain outstanding faculty by allowing UC San Diego to offer chair holders supplemental funds for teaching, research and service. And as endowments, these gifts live on for years to come. Today, UC San Diego has 164 endowed faculty chairs, including five new chairs funded by generous donors:

Benjamin G. and Wanda L. Hildyard Bequest

Thanks to this bequest, three new chairs at the UC San Diego School of Medicine will support outstanding faculty members in their research of hereditary diseases, eye diseases and mitochondrial and metabolic diseases. During their lifetimes, the Hildyards generously and anonymously supported UC San Diego. Ben Hildyard was a civil engineer and owner of BGH Engineering. Wanda Hildyard worked as an executive secretary with several federal engineering agencies before becoming a staff member at UC San Diego. The three chairs have been established with endowment funds of more than $2 million each:

  • The Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Diseases of the Eye will support an outstanding faculty member at the UC San Diego School of Medicine in research related to both child and adult hereditary diseases of the eye.
  • The Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Hereditary Diseases will focus on basic research of hereditary diseases primarily associated with American people of English and Scottish descent.
  • The Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Mitochondrial and Metabolic Diseases will support a faculty member conducting basic research of adult mitochondrial and metabolic diseases.

US Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA)

Also at the School of Medicine, a $2 million gift will endow the US HAEA Endowed Chair at UC San Diego. The chair will support research and clinical work in hereditary angioedema due to C1 inhibitor deficiency. Hereditary angioedema is a very rare and potentially life-threatening genetic condition characterized by episodes of edema—swelling caused by fluid in the body’s tissue—in various parts of the body, including hands, feet, face and airway.

John J. and Susan M. Fratamico

Established with a $750,000 gift from the Fratamicos, the John J. and Susan M. Fratamico Endowed Chair at the Jacobs School of Engineering will support multidisciplinary faculty research that combines engineering and the life sciences. John Fratamico is the senior vice president and general manager of the Advanced Concepts Business Unit of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and serves on the Council of Advisors at the Jacobs School. Susan Fratamico is the director of Strategic Planning at San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

“Our steep trajectory as a top tier research university has been in part due to our ability to attract the best and brightest faculty and provide the right support structures that further their research, teaching and service efforts,” said Suresh Subramani, executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Endowed chairs are becoming increasingly critical to attracting and retaining exceptional scholars in a wide range of academic fields.”

At UC San Diego, sixteen Nobel laureates have taught on campus; stellar faculty members have been awarded National Medals of Science, Fields Medals, Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur Fellowships and many other honors.

To learn more about UC San Diego’s endowed faculty chairs and the donors who established them, visit

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