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Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Breaking Ground

UC San Diego celebrates philanthropy at groundbreaking of new Biological and Physical Sciences Building

As UC San Diego commemorated the groundbreaking of its new Biological and Physical Sciences Building this month, the campus also celebrated two gifts that will help shape the future of science, including $2 million in support from the Kavli Foundation and a legacy bequest from the Honorable Lynn A. Schenk.

The Biological and Physical Sciences Building is a much-needed facility constructed in response to the rapid growth of both the Division of Biological Sciences and the Division of Physical Sciences over the past 15 years. The new seven-story building, located near the Main Gym in the Revelle College area of campus, will provide 128,000 square feet of additional space for 20 research laboratories. Research inside the building will focus on brain activity mapping, advanced energy and drug discovery innovation.

At the building groundbreaking, the campus announced a $2 million gift from The Kavli Foundation to support the project, which will be recognized with the naming of the Fred Kavli Auditorium in the new building.

“This is a great day for the university, our students and faculty, and our greater community and we are grateful to The Kavli Foundation for their generous support of this project,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Once this building is completed, it will provide much-needed classroom and laboratory space for our students and faculty. The scientists who will work in this building address our world’s most pressing challenges, with research applications ranging from human health to sustainable energy sources.”

The Kavli Foundation was founded in 2000 by the late Fred Kavli, a business leader and philanthropist. The Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind was established at UC San Diego in 2004 to further our understanding of human cognition, from the brain's physical and biochemical machinery to the experiences and behaviors called the mind. The institute will now reside on the top floor of the Biological and Physical Sciences Building.

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Former congresswoman Lynn Schenk was recognized for her support of the campus

“I look at the names on the buildings on this campus, such as Herb York and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, and I see the great origins of this campus,” said Robert Conn, executive director of the Kavli Foundation, at the event. “To have The Kavli name included in this neighborhood is really special. With this building, the Kavli Institute will have a real home and we are thrilled to support it.”

The Biological and Physical Sciences Building, designed by Los Angeles-based CO Architects, is slated for completion in June 2018. The new space will contain eight new undergraduate teaching labs—six for biology students and two for chemistry students—providing much-needed space for laboratory courses, which will enable undergraduates to graduate in a timely manner, compete successfully for careers and be better prepared for graduate school.

The basement of the building will house a state-of-the-art laser facility and the new permanent home for the campus’ NIH-designated National Resource for NMR Molecular Imaging of Proteins. This powerful tool helps researchers gain a better understanding of the structure of proteins and other complex molecules, essential for drug discovery.

‘Dare to Fail’

The Kavli gift was not the only donation celebrated at the building groundbreaking. The campus announced a generous bequest from the Honorable Lynn A. Schenk. As the first woman to represent San Diego in the U.S. House of Representatives, Schenk has broken boundaries throughout her career, helping to make San Diego—and UC San Diego—what it is today. In the same spirit, Schenk made a legacy bequest to the campus to establish the C. Hugh Friedman and Lynn Schenk Dare to Fail Endowment Fund at UC San Diego.

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The Biological and Physical Sciences Building will be located in the Revelle College area of campus

“We are so grateful to Lynn Schenk, our former Congresswoman and a generous friend of the university,” said Khosla. “I thank you for your support of our campus and our junior faculty in their quest to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The UC San Diego endowment will support the Schenk and Friedman Dare to Fail Scholars Program, which is designed to provide promising young scientists with vital funding to pursue challenging and uncharted research across the biological and physical sciences, at both UC San Diego and across the Torrey Pines Mesa at The Scripps Research Institute. The funding will support research with potential to address some of the world’s most urgent issues—from health care to sustainable energy.

“I’m not a scientist or a mathematician; I personally won’t find a cure for a dread disease or make a scientific discovery,” said Schenk. “But I feel to my core that I need to do as much as I can to create a hospitable and collaborative environment for those who will find a cure or unlock a mystery of life. I want to support those who ‘dare to fail’ and think freely, without constraint.”

The gift, which is designed to spark new and innovative research ideas, also honors the memory of Schenk’s late husband, C. Hugh Friedman. “We talked about this and what we wanted our legacy to be,” said Schenk. “He was a renowned lawyer and well-loved professor—a man of letters—who was committed to training the future generation. This felt like an appropriate honor for Hugh.”