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UCSD beats odds and raises more than $1 billion

The skeptics said $1 billion was too lofty a fund-raising goal for a university not yet 50 years old.

UCSD proved them wrong.

“Recent gifts to the campus have taken our fund-raising total over the $1 billion campaign goal nearly a month before the scheduled campaign conclusion,” UCSD chancellor Marye Anne Fox told guests at a June 8 on-campus press conference. “UCSD is California’s first university south of greater Los Angeles to top this ambitious milestone, and one of the youngest in the nation. To donors I’d like to say, ‘Thank you, you started it.’ You started creating the momentum that will ensure excellence at UCSD now and in the future. Your generous gifts will continue the global impact, national influence and global reach of the region’s research university.”

The fund-raising campaign titled “The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next” was kicked off in July 2000 with a seven-year goal for raising $1 billion. The money will be used to support students and faculty, expand academic programs, fund research and strengthen innovation funds to meet the university’s highest priority needs.

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As of June 1, 2007, there were 100,737 donors to the university seven-year fund-raiser. Of that number, 51 percent of donors were listed as friends of the university, 28 percent came from alumni, 14 percent were parents of students, 5 percent was provided by corporations and 1 percent each came from foundations and other organizations.

Money raised will be distributed in the following manner: 40 percent to faculty research, 33 percent to academic programs and facilities, 10 percent to both innovation and students and 7 percent to faculty.

Co-chairs of the university’s fund-raising campaign were Malin Burnham, Irwin Jacobs and John J. Moores. Audrey Geisel was honorary campaign co-chair.

Fox was joined at the podium by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Council President Scott Peters, whose First District includes La Jolla.

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“This is just a wonderful thing to be here for,” said Sanders. “This is a tremendous achievement. Through the generosity of San Diegans at every level, this organization has come very far, very fast. We can all take pride in UCSD for its contributions.”

Sanders invited Peters up and presented him with a proclamation which designated June 8, 2007 as University of California, San Diego Day in the city of San Diego. “As UCSD goes, so goes the city of San Diego,” added Sanders.

A letter of congratulations was read from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger stating: “I commend your fund-raising staff and generous donors who’ve helped you reach the $1 billion mark. It’s a wonderful testimony to the strong support you have from your alumni and the community as one of the nation’s top-ranked universities to assist students, promote research and fund other priorities.”

UCSD fund-raising campaign co-chair Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder of digital wireless pioneer Qualcomm for whom the university’s Jacobs School of Engineering is named, talked about UCSD’s growth and development over the years.

“It’s a very exciting day to be here to announce this great accomplishment for UCSD and for all of us,” said Jacobs. “I do remember gathering in (then) Chancellor Dynes’ office to discuss this particular campaign. Then, there were people in the community who said $1 billion was beyond our ability. We all discussed the need for the money as UCSD would continue to grow, the need for faculty salaries, scholarships, fellowships, new buildings, support for health facilities - a whole range of needs as this university went ahead into the future. At that point, we decided to take that chance, to count on the fact that there were many supporters of the university and to shoot for the $1 billion goal.”

Jacobs extolled the virtues of the university pointing out the impact it’s made on the surrounding community and the regional economy. “It has lead to a very great educational output, a raising of the intellectual level of the entire region,” he said. “It lead to the formation of over 250 companies, and that number continues to grow very rapidly.”

Jacobs said Qualcomm and a second company he started would not have been nearly as successful as they’ve become without UCSD. “Having a very strong research university is critical to economic growth and to fostering new innovative companies,” he said.

UCSD has grown by leaps and bounds since it was founded in 1960. Jacobs noted, when he first came to the campus in 1966, that only a small portion of the Revelle campus had been built. He added future plans then called for constructing 12 colleges accommodating 30,000 students. There are now about 26,000 employees on-campus.

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Chancellor Fox introduced two benefactors of the university, students Sarahi Loya and Robert Nguyen. Both gave moving accounts detailing how they’ve benefited immeasurably with the university’s help. Loya, an aspiring physician, received a four-year scholarship. “My parents only went though sixth grade due to financial hardship,” she said. “They could not afford a college education. The scholarship gave me an opportunity for a world-class education. UCSD has given many students like me help. Here I am on my way to a dream my parents could never envision.”

Nguyen’s 7-year-old daughter, Allison, was stricken with a brain tumor that caused her partial paralysis leaving her unable to walk or write. He said, through a cutting-edge medical technique developed by UCSD’s John Moores Cancer Center, she has regained her faculties and hope for her future. “It was a devastating medical situation,” he said. “UCSD and the Moores Cancer Center have made a tremendous impact on our lives. Dr. Kevin Murphy used leading-edge technology, a very high dosage photon beam precisely administered to treat the tumor while avoiding all the surrounding healthy cell area. I am very happy to stand in front of you to report her symptoms have miraculously subsided. We’re very thankful to the university.”