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UCLA Receives $100 Million from Alumni Meyer and Renee Luskin

It is with tremendous pride, gratitude and optimism for UCLA’s future that I share news of a landmark commitment to our campus.

UCLA alumni Meyer and Renee Luskin have made a transformative gift to UCLA, contributing $100 million to support academic programs and capital improvements. This remarkably generous donation will be divided among the School of Public Affairs, which will be renamed the Meyer and Renee Luskin School of Public Affairs, the new Meyer and Renee Luskin Residential Conference Center, and the College of Letters and Science.

The Luskins’ commitment is among the five largest individual gifts to any university during the past year, and it is the second largest ever to UCLA. Even as we face serious fiscal challenges posed by state budget cuts, this is a profound statement about the current and future strength of UCLA as an engine for innovation and cutting-edge scholarship. 

The gift also is an overwhelming demonstration of the Luskins’ confidence in UCLA as a force for addressing society’s most important challenges and in our unique ability to foster the meaningful and effective exchange of ideas among scholars, civic leaders and the community. The Luskins have said they view this commitment as a strategic investment in our campus and, by extension, in greater Los Angeles.

Meyer and Renee Luskin were inspired to give to UCLA in part because of their long relationship with the campus. Meyer earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA in 1949—he has credited the multidisciplinary education he received here for providing the platform for his successful business career—and Renee earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology here in 1953. Their generosity has already made an enormous impact on our campus, endowing a faculty chair in migraine and headache studies, a fund to support undergraduates participating in civic engagement research, a graduate fellowship in history, and a children’s clinic at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, and establishing the Luskin Center for Innovation, which is housed in the School of Public Affairs.

Half of the Luskins’ donation will be directed to the School of Public Affairs, where it will establish endowments, support emerging research areas—including new programs in urban studies and social justice—and attract the outstanding faculty and students who will ensure the school’s continued competitiveness among the nation’s leading government and public affairs schools.

Forty percent of the $100 million gift will support the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, which will begin construction next spring on the site of the UCLA Faculty Center, pending approval by the UC Board of Regents. No state funding would be used for construction. Another 10 percent will fund the College’s Luskin Endowment for Thought Leadership, which will support academic conferences and an annual lecture. 

The months ahead will offer several opportunities to express our deep appreciation to Meyer and Renee Luskin, including a naming ceremony for the School of Public Affairs in March. In the meantime, I invite you to learn more about the Luskins’ gift on UCLA Newsroom.

Gene D. Block
Chancellor

January 26, 2011

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