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

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."


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

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