Letter from Vice Chancellor Gregory R. Leet

March 19, 2015

  • Gregory Leet

Much like environmental sustainability helps to preserve our planet, sustainable philanthropy helps to preserve our university. Sustaining donors play a pivotal role in balancing our educational ecosystem by supplying a predictable stream of annual revenue that enables us to maintain the highest standards of excellence.

Put simply, sustaining donors shape UCI’s environment day after day, year after year. And their enormous impact can often be seen across generations of students.

Drs. Francisco and Hana Ayala are living proof that sustained giving can have tremendous, long-lasting effects. They have supported UCI longer than most of our current students have been alive. Approximately 27 graduating classes of Anteaters have benefited from the Ayalas’ sustaining generosity.

Francisco and Hana met before coming to UCI to teach almost three decades ago. They immediately fell in love with the university. When they realized substantial profits from their winery business, Francisco and Hana pledged $10 million to UCI – the largest gift ever from faculty members. And when Francisco earned the 2010 Templeton Prize, he donated the entire $1.5 million award to UCI without hesitation.

The Ayalas’ willingness to provide long-term support to UCI stems from wanting to help the university continue to grow and thrive.

Although Hana has left her teaching post here, she says her connection to UCI has never been stronger. Her passion has expanded globally with Pangea World, an organization she founded that seeks to elevate the conservation of the planet’s most exquisite and vulnerable places into an economic imperative. Francisco still teaches in UCI’s Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and regularly publishes research.

When he walks around campus, Francisco witnesses the results of his and Hana’s sustaining contributions firsthand. As students face diminishing public funding, the Ayalas’ passion for giving increases. Their decision to provide scholarships and substantial ongoing support is helping countless students achieve their dreams. Regardless of an economic boom or bust, the Ayalas have stood by UCI, proving that sustainable philanthropy is the university’s single most important source of renewable opportunity.

Best regards,

Gregory R. Leet
Vice Chancellor | University Advancement
Shaping the Future campaign

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