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November 7, 2005

Scholarships Benefit Dinner draws more than 300 guests

By Ann Gibb

Celebration, success, and surprise were the keynotes at the third annual UCSC Scholarships Benefit Dinner on Saturday.

Chancellor Denton, right, and Anuradha Luther Maitra, UC Santa Cruz Foundation president, present the Fiat Lux Award to Jack Baskin at the Scholarships Benefit Dinner.
Photos: Rod Searcey
Jack Baskin Jack Baskin receives the Fiat Lux Award in recognition of his distinguished and sustained service in support of the campus's programs and goals.
Speaker Tremain Jones, a 2005 UCSC graduate and recipient of a Karl S. Pister Scholarship, speaks at the dinner.
Anuradha Luther Maitra and Dom SiababaDinner cohosts Anuradha Luther Maitra, left, and Dom Siababa, president of the UCSC Alumni Council, discuss the impact of student support.

More than 300 guests attended, including UCSC alumni and supporters from around the region and across the state, as well as local residents and members of the campus community.

The dinner, held in the College Nine and College Ten Multipurpose Room, was the final event in three days of special campus activities surrounding the investiture of Chancellor Denice D. Denton.

In her welcoming remarks, Denton announced the successful conclusion of the UCSC Cornerstone Campaign, which raised more than $67 million, nearly $18 million over its goal. The two-year campaign benefited every area of UCSC, with a special emphasis on undergraduate and graduate student support.

"I want to especially thank the generous donors, our hard-working faculty, deans, and staff, and Gordon Ringold, UCSC alumnus, Foundation Trustee, and chair of the Cornerstone Campaign Council," said Chancellor Denton. "They were the key to making this campaign a success."

The chancellor also announced that in the year since the last Scholarships Benefit Dinner, $2.7 million has been raised to support undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships at UCSC.

Honored at the dinner was longtime campus and community benefactor Jack Baskin, who received a standing ovation as he was presented with the first UCSC Fiat Lux Award, given in recognition of his distinguished and sustained service in support of the campus's programs and goals.

In his acceptance remarks, Baskin, who has served as a UCSC Foundation trustee since 1978, recalled that his involvement with the campus began when he was the only non-UCSC staff member on the campus physical planning committee. Baskin credited his major campus gift, which established the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, to his wife, Peggy Downes Baskin. "She encouraged me to 'do something dear to my heart,'" said Baskin, who was an aeronautical engineer prior to his career in housing construction.

In a surprise announcement, Chancellor Denton revealed that Baskin's family, friends, and UCSC colleagues have created the Jack Baskin Engineering Scholarship in his honor. The new fund, which will support engineering students at UCSC, honors Baskin's educational leadership and vision for young engineers. Baskin also received honorary proclamations from the U.S. Senate, the California State Assembly, and the City of Santa Cruz.

Dinner cohosts Anuradha Luther Maitra, president of the UCSC Foundation, and Dom Siababa, president of the UCSC Alumni Council, spoke on the transformative impact of student support. Their remarks were highlighted by two additional speakers: recent alumnus Tremain Jones and professor of psychology and chair of the UCSC Academic Senate Faye Crosby.

A 2005 graduate of UCSC's Kresge College, Jones is a recipient of a Karl S. Pister Scholarship. He described the challenges of growing up in East Palo Alto and working two jobs to support himself as he studied full-time at a community college. The financial support he received at UCSC helped him complete a B.A. in anthropology. "Now, a kid from East Palo Alto will be going to Borneo," said Jones, who will travel there next winter to study orangutans in their natural environment.

In describing the contributions of the diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students who work in her research lab, Crosby focused on the story of a recent alumna who immigrated from El Salvador as a teenager speaking no English and went on to complete a UCSC degree in four years and enter law school. "She asked me challenging questions about the relevancy of my research," said Crosby, whose work focuses on affirmative action and diversity issues in education and business.

"The faculty thank you very much for being involved," Crosby told the audience. "Your involvement is what keeps this enterprise going."



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