Navigation Links
Francisco J. Ayala gives $10 million to UCI, largest gift ever by campus faculty member
Date:10/18/2011

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 18, 2011 Acclaimed UC Irvine geneticist Francisco J. Ayala, best known for his work straddling the divide between religion and evolution, will donate $10 million to the School of Biological Sciences. The gift, the largest ever by a UCI faculty member, will be funded with profits from flourishing vineyards Ayala bought decades ago.

"When you can do good things, you should do them," said the University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, who came to UCI nearly a quarter of a century ago. "This is a way of showing my gratitude to this university, which has been so good to me, where I have been able to do my research and teach wonderful students, and where I have been honored in so many ways. In a larger context, it's a way of expressing my gratitude to this country. I came to the United States as a student, with no intention to stay, and yet here I am."

An ordained Dominican priest and, originally, a self-taught geneticist, Ayala, 77, arrived in the U.S. in 1961 from a "backward" Spain caught in Francisco Franco's grip to study science. Since then, he has achieved international prominence as a molecular biologist whose work has advanced the search for cures for malaria and other devastating diseases. A vocal opponent of "intelligent design" and those who deny the existence of evolution, he has been awarded the National Medal of Science and the Templeton Prize.

Ayala has written more than 1,000 articles and 40 books; his recent "Am I a Monkey?" explores major evolutionary themes, including how science and religion can coexist. A lover of pinot noir and opera, onetime horse breeder and voracious reader, the "Renaissance man of evolutionary biology" as he was dubbed by The New York Times he began buying land in Central California in the 1980s and turned it into vineyards supplying grapes to the state's major winemakers.

The announcement of the gift comes at a welcome time for UCI, which like other University of California campuses is grappling with large budget cuts. Last year, Ayala donated the proceeds of the $1.5 million Templeton Prize, awarded for his contributions to the science-spirituality debate, to fund the work of graduate students in biological sciences.

"Words fail to express our gratitude to Professor Ayala for his generosity over the years. To add a gift of this magnitude to his already remarkable legacy is much more than we could have imagined," said Chancellor Michael Drake. "This gift provides help right when we need it, right where we need it, targeted strategically to produce the greatest impact for our campus."

Biological sciences dean Al Bennett, who will be the first to hold a $2 million endowed dean's chair as part of the gift, said: "It's just incredible. I feel very blessed." He added that because of Ayala's earlier Templeton donation, the school had a record number of top-notch graduate applicants this year and was able to enroll the cream of the crop.

Ayala said he was delighted that Bennett would be the first beneficiary and noted that the university's excellence rather than fiscal need prompted the gift. The rest of the funding will create four new research chairs in Ayala's name.

"The purpose is to recruit the best possible people. UCI is a very young university, but it's very good, and we're getting better and better," he said. "Ours is one of the finest departments of ecology and evolution in the world. And whoever is dean, this will give him or her funds that are unrestricted for extra projects. So that's icing on the cake."


'/>"/>

Contact: Janet Wilson
janethw@uci.edu
949-824-3969
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Card Logistics to Auction Smart Card Gaming Technology at Upcoming ICAP Patent Brokerage Fall 2011 Live IP Auction in San Francisco
2. AACR hosts Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research Conference in San Francisco
3. University of California, San Francisco, researcher receives ASBMB-Merck Award
4. Science communication to take the stage at annual AAAS meeting in San Francisco
5. AAAS Pacific division scientific conference to meet in San Francisco Aug. 14 - 19
6. New bionic leg gives amputees a natural gait
7. Sea squirt pacemaker gives new insight into evolution of the human heart
8. Fools gold gives scientists priceless insight into Earths evolution
9. New duck-billed dinosaur gives scientists clues to evolution of head ornamentation and provinciality
10. Simple test gives accurate prediction of ovulation to help women become pregnant
11. Space research gives birth to new ultrasound tools for health care in orbit, on Earth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/13/2017)... PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. , Jan. 13, 2017 ... provider of technology solutions for the homecare industry, ... appointment of homecare industry expert, Justin Jugs, as ... Justin brings more than 15 years of homecare ... the team in developing strategic plans to align ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... Intoxalock, a leading ignition interlock provider, has ... patent-pending calibration device. With this new technology, Intoxalock is ... data logs and process repairs at service center locations, ... drunk driving through the application of cutting-edge technologies is ... also for the customer who can get back on ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... 5, 2017  Delta ID Inc., a leader in ... for automotive at CESĀ® 2017. Delta ID has collaborated ... demonstrate the use of iris scanning as a secure, ... driver in a car, and as a way to ... Delta ID and Gentex will demonstrate (booth ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... ... (LES®) Technologies, announced today the next evolution in spinal fusion, the MISquito ... In contrast to the competition, SpineFrontier is focused on technique driven product ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... and HOUSTON , Jan. ... Prenatal") today announced the formation of its Medical/Clinical ... clinicians and industry veterans who enhance the range ... it accelerates development of its novel prenatal diagnostic ... medical, clinical and strategic guidance for the company,s ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 19, ... ... of advanced software solutions for pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), today announced ... in omic data analysis and interpretation for the rapidly evolving field of ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 19, 2017  ArmaGen, Inc., today announced ... Ph.D., as chief executive officer, as well as ... brings to ArmaGen more than 17 years of ... development of biotherapeutics and pharmaceuticals. ... diverse experience and skillset necessary to lead ArmaGen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: