For nearly 20 years, Henry and Susan Samueli have played a major role in UCI’s growth, and their $200 million pledge for the health sciences is merely a capstone to their commitment to philanthropy. Through generous gifts by their foundation and other holdings, the Samuelis have previously donated more than $70 million to UCI.
Their legacy of giving can be seen across campus, especially at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, which will benefit from a $30 million gift from the Samueli Foundation to help fund a state-of-the-art convergent science building, expanding UCI’s ability to conduct large-scale, collaborative and cross-disciplinary research in engineering, computing and physical sciences.
In a significant private-public partnership, this Samueli donation has enabled the university to obtain $50 million in state funds allocated by the UC Office of the President. An additional $40 million in UCI funds brings the total budget to $120 million. Construction of the up-to-100,000-square-foot facility could begin in fall 2017 and be completed in three years.
In 1999, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering received a $20 million naming gift, which in part endowed 10 chairs and professorships and funded two scholarships and one graduate fellowship. In addition, a $2 million endowment from the Samueli Foundation established the UCI/Israeli Scholar Exchange Endowment for Engineering Science Program in 2007, which supports research activities, international collaborations and educational activities with Israeli universities to build bridges between UCI engineers and their Israeli counterparts, solidifying the Samueli School’s role as a global leader among engineering schools.
To date, the exchange program has supported four international engineering conferences and the fifth is in the planning stages. The annual conferences, which rotate between UCI and Israel, each feature an area of emerging technology. Past conferences advanced discussion about communications, medical technologies, energy and water, and the Internet of Things.
Upon launching the program, Henry Samueli said his hope was that it would “build new bridges between the engineering industry and the world’s great research universities, ultimately benefiting both science and industry.”
The Samueli’s abiding interest in health and wellness is reflected from their $5.7 million gift in 2000 to establish the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. The center has a leadership role in exploring the frontiers of complementary and integrative medicine. It will now be expanded to become the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute.
The center currently hosts integrative medical practices in Costa Mesa and other Orange County cities, where patients incorporate effective strategies into their lives through medical treatment, meditation, acupuncture, nutrition, exercise, mind-body techniques and massage. The center also host lectures and tai chi, mindfulness and yoga classes. In addition, researchers conduct rigorous scientific inquiry into effects of complementary and integrative treatments. Recent studies led by former center director Dr. John Longhurst, for instance, give evidence that acupuncture treatments can help control blood pressure.
The Samuelis have also made major donations to UCLA, naming the Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Chapman University, creating the Sala & Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library. They helped found the Samueli Academy, a public charter high school in Santa Ana for community, underserved and foster teens. Since 1998, when their foundation was started, the Samuelis have committed over $500 million to philanthropy, primarily in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, integrative health, youth services, youth hockey and Jewish culture.