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Photos of Jack Baskin, George Blumenthal

Jack Baskin, left, whose $5 million gift helped launch UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering, joins Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal at the 10th anniversary celebration February 23. The two are holding mugs commemorating the anniversary.

February 26, 2007

Engineering school launches 10th anniversary celebrations

By Tim Stephens

At an Open House on Friday, February 23, the Baskin School of Engineering launched its 10th anniversary celebrations and showed off the school's new facilities, cutting-edge research labs, and innovative student research projects.

Photo of George Blumenthal

Acting Chancellor Blumenthal was among those speaking at the celebration.

Photos: Matt Fitt

Established in 1997 as the campus's first professional school, the Baskin School of Engineering merges UCSC's traditional strengths in information technology and biotechnology with expanding programs in nanotechnology. In his remarks at the Open House, Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal noted that the plan for an engineering school at UCSC dates back to the campus's founding.

"It has taken perseverance on many people's part to reach the place where we are today, with vibrant, innovative programs that cross disciplinary boundaries," Blumenthal said.

Jack Baskin, whose $5 million gift helped launch the school a decade ago, said he was impressed by the school's rapid progress. Baskin's most recent gift to the campus includes $500,000 for an endowed chair in Technology and Information Management (see related story), bringing his contributions to the engineering school to more than $8 million.

"The engineering school has flourished beyond our wildest dreams," Baskin said.

Engineering dean Steve Kang and founding dean Patrick Mantey, the Baskin Professor of Computer Engineering, also spoke at the event.

"I'm excited and proud of what we collectively have done. The Baskin School of Engineering is something we can all take pride in," Mantey said.

UCSC's engineering faculty have pioneered new areas of research and created exciting opportunities for students. New buildings, combined with renovations of the Baskin Engineering Building, have greatly expanded and improved the school's research and teaching facilities.

Four research laboratories were open for tours during the event, including a computer gaming lab (the Expressive Intelligence Lab) led by Michael Mateas, assistant professor of computer science and codeveloper of the social interaction game Façade. In the Autonomous Systems Lab led by Gabriel Elkaim, assistant professor of computer engineering, demonstrations included robots used in undergraduate classes and a robotic catamaran project. The Quantum Electronics Lab led by Ali Shakouri, professor of electrical engineering, demonstrated novel thermal imaging devices and "microrefrigerators on a chip" developed by the lab.

Visitors also toured the "KiloKluster," one of two large parallel processor clusters run by the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering (CBSE) to support the UCSC Genome Browser and its associated tools and databases. These resources are used every day by researchers throughout the world, as well as by CBSE scientists led by David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineeering.

In the months ahead, the engineering school will host a series of events to celebrate its 10th anniversary, including a distinguished lecture series, a research poster symposium, and an alumni reunion at the Banana Slug Spring Fair. For more information about the 10th anniversary celebrations, visit the web site or contact the school at (831) 459-2158 or


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