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Cymer Co-Founder Richard Sandstrom and Wife, Sandra Timmons Give $1.2 Million for Students

Sandra Timmons and Richard Sandstrom. Photo by Xavier Bailey Photography

University of California, San Diego alumni Sandra Timmons and Richard Sandstrom, co-founder of Cymer, Inc., are passionate about their alma mater and helping future students achieve the same world-class education they received at UC San Diego. That’s why the couple recently pledged a gift of $1.2 million to the campus for student support through their charitable Timmstrom Family Fund. The gift will be split, per the donors’ wishes, to support graduate students in the Jacobs School of Engineering and undergraduates through the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars program.

“We are deeply grateful to Sandra Timmons and Richard Sandstrom for their dedicated support and generosity to UC San Diego,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Their gift will have a profound impact on both undergraduate and graduate students for generations to come.”

Timmons earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology at UC San Diego in 1981. She went on to work as a television producer and writer, before dedicating her time to community service. Sandstrom completed his entire university education in applied mechanics and engineering science at UC San Diego—he received his undergraduate degree in 1972, his master’s in 1976 and his Ph.D. in 1979. Together with fellow alumnus, Bob Akins, Sandstrom founded Cymer, Inc, the world’s leading developer of lithography light sources, which are used by computer chip manufacturers around the globe.

“Sandy and I believe UC San Diego is an amazing school; it is a place to get a great education but one that has gotten much more expensive since we were there,” said Sandstrom. “Having access to an education from UC San Diego is having access to the American dream.”

Sandstrom and Timmons designated $700,000 of their gift to establish the Sandstrom Graduate Fellowship in Engineering, an endowed fund that will provide support for graduate students at the Jacobs School of Engineering in perpetuity.

“This new endowed fellowship will enhance our ability to attract and support some of the most exceptional engineering graduate students in the world,” said Albert P. Pisano, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “These are the kinds of students who fuel exciting new research directions and go on to become entrepreneurs and technology leaders.”

In addition, Sandstrom and Timmons designated $500,000 to establish the Timmstrom Scholars endowed fund to support undergraduate scholarships. Specifically, the funding will augment the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program, which was established by Chancellor Khosla in fall 2013 to help ensure that qualified local students from all backgrounds have access to UC San Diego. The Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program provides eligible UC San Diego students who have graduated from Gompers Preparatory Academy, Lincoln High School and The Preuss School UCSD with $10,000 per year for four years—essentially a full-ride scholarship when combined with the University of California’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan.

Recently, Khosla announced that the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program will be extended to transfer students from San Diego City College and Southwestern College in fall 2014. Graduates of Reality Changers—a local program which helps youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to become the first in their families to attend college—will also be eligible for the scholarship next fall.

“The Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship enables all qualified students the opportunity to attend UC San Diego, not just those with families that have the means to send them,” said Timmons. “We have donated to the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program because we believe it is important to support our local community and help in the development of the region’s future leaders. By focusing on inclusion, the program increases the diversity of the university which benefits all students.”