Gift shows role of private donors in public universities

Last Tuesday the University of California, Los Angeles announced a US$100 million gift to expand the engineering school, from Henry Samueli, who cofounded semiconductor and software firm Broadcom Inc, and his wife, Susan. It is the school’s largest ever private donation and will allow the engineering school to do what diminished state funding no longer does: significantly grow to meet the demands for training in some of the world’s hottest career fields, writes Teresa Watanabe for the Los Angeles Times.

“We have this huge pool of talent and we don’t have enough seats,” said Jayathi Murthy, dean of the engineering school. The donation will help the school add about 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students over the next decade to reach a total of about 7,000. It also will increase tenured and tenure-track faculty by nearly 100 to about 250, and provide competitive start-up packages, endowed chairs, scholarships, fellowships, labs and equipment, Murthy said.

None of that would be possible without private donations, she said. “State support is critical for a state university, and nothing replaces that,” she said. “But state support has been decreasing for many years – decades really – and we are dependent more and more on philanthropy to provide the undergirding we need … to build the labs and buy the computers and equipment.”
Full report on the Los Angeles Times site