UC San Diego News Center


Gifts from the Heart: Student Support Campaign Surpasses $50 Million Goal

Undergraduate scholarship recipient Cheyenne Wright, photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Every February, UC San Diego scholarship recipients and donors connect at the Hearts and Scholars dinner. For students, it’s an opportunity to thank the individuals who have helped to make their education possible. For donors, it’s a chance to see the impact of their gifts—through their students’ accomplishments and dreams. At this year’s dinner, taking place Feb. 21, there will be added cause for celebration: the successful close of “Invent the Future: The UC San Diego Student Support Campaign,” which has surpassed its $50 million fundraising goal.

“This is an important milestone for our campus and all of our students who receive scholarships and fellowships, thanks to our generous supporters,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Private support is critical to ensuring that highly motivated and talented students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue their education at UC San Diego. The gift of education is truly a gift from the heart.”

Launched three years ago with a $2 million fellowship endowment from the Siebel Foundation, Invent the Future closed on Dec. 31, 2012, raising nearly $2.5 million more than its campaign goal. The funds raised will help support the growing number of students who need financial support to offset rising fees and the cost of living.

The Impact of Invent the Future

The gift of education has the power to transform lives. For a first generation college student, a scholarship can change a life’s trajectory. A fellowship for a talented graduate student may hold the key to a groundbreaking discovery that will impact all of society. Click through for the stories of four students, studying in the fields of psychology, microbiology, bioengineering and nanoengineering.

Read More »


“UC San Diego’s ability to advance research and impact the regional economy is directly related to the quality of its faculty and student body,” said Steve Relyea, vice chancellor for External and Business Affairs. “We thank the many generous donors who invested in UC San Diego students so that we can continue to recruit the best and brightest to our campus.”

Invent the Future donors range from campus leadership to alumni, friends and students themselves. Last year, UC San Diego awarded more than 1,400 undergraduate scholarships worth more than $3.3 million and 700 graduate fellowships worth $7.3 million.

“I am so thankful,” said Edward Sommers, a nanoengineering major and recipient of the George Parker Memorial Scholarship. Sommers’ scholarship was established to support students at UC San Diego who were raised in foster care for three or more years. He is currently working to establish a Big Brother Engineering program to help guide foster youth on their educational journey. “I want to set an example for others and share my story with a bigger audience—to encourage others never to give up and to realize that they can go far.”

Key donors to UC San Diego’s Invent the Future campaign to date include:

  • Richard Atkinson—former president of the 10-campus University of California system and chancellor at the University of California, San Diego from 1980-1995—designated, with his wife Rita, $5.7 million to support fellowships for graduate students at UC San Diego.
  • Jerome and Miriam Katzin endowed a $4 million fellowship fund to support graduate students. The gift will establish The Katzin Prize Endowment Fund to support UC San Diego graduate students who demonstrate outstanding talent and promise.
  • Local philanthropist and business owner Pauline Foster made a $2.5 million charitable gift commitment to the Rady School of Management to endow M.B.A. student fellowships, which are scholarships for graduate students.
  • In 2009, the Siebel Foundation recognized the Jacobs School of Engineering's pioneering efforts in bioengineering with a $2 million endowment to fund fellowships for the top five bioengineering graduate students each year.
  • Longtime campus supporters Joan and Irwin Jacobs—Irwin is a former faculty member and co-founder of Qualcomm—gave more than $6 million to the Jacobs School Scholars and Fellows program to help fund four-year undergraduate scholarships and first-year graduate fellowships to attract talented students to UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering.
  • Alumnus Ken Kroner, ’88, and his wife, Jennifer, have expressed their gratitude for the training Ken received at UC San Diego by making a $1 million gift to fund the Kroner Family Endowed Fellowship in Social Sciences.
  • With a gift of $265,000, alumna Wendy Kwok, ’99, will provide scholarship support for outstanding UC San Diego undergraduates majoring in biological sciences.

Although the Invent the Future campaign exceeded its fundraising goal, UC San Diego will continue to face a critical need for student scholarships and fellowships in the face of declining state funds and University of California budget concerns. To help, please visit the Scholarships and Student Life website at and the Graduate Fellowships site at