Why do I give to UC Santa Cruz?

November 24, 2015

Mary E. Doyle, UC Santa Cruz Foundation president

A word with Mary E. Doyle, UC Santa Cruz Foundation president

I have been committed to UC Santa Cruz from the day I first set foot on campus. It is home to me—a beautiful place where I was challenged to reach my potential and supported by the College V (now Porter College) community.

At UC Santa Cruz, I found myself in an intellectual stewpot where I reveled in a wide array of biology and economics courses taught by early campus pioneers and wonderful teachers who took interest in their students as individuals, like Bill Doyle, Henry Hilgard, Jon Pearse, and Harry Noller, as well as Dan Suits, Bethuel Setai, and Don Wittman.

I was also encouraged to range beyond my majors. Two courses in particular were formative in my life: Political and Civil Rights, taught by Ben Stein, then a College V preceptor who inspired me to consider the law as a profession; and an upper-division literature seminar taught by Paul Skenazy, who encouraged me to read closely and reflectively and to engage in critical dialogue outside my own discipline.

It is not just the content of all these courses that endures, but the different approaches to contemplating problems and thinking about the world that I was introduced to. That difference—the influence of varied intellectual disciplines—has remained an asset throughout my career.

Other opportunities to learn and grow centered on my college, where I threw myself into a vibrant college life and embraced the spirit of community. I took a dance class, ran for student government, worked at College V’s first coffee house, staffed the Arts Fair, served as a resident assistant, and had debates in the dining hall with students, faculty, and provosts..

My experience at UC Santa Cruz fueled my passion to bring access to a top-notch public education within reach of all students. I believe that UC is the engine of upward mobility and economic progress for the people of California. UC Santa Cruz is a jewel in the UC crown, unique among the campuses in its focus on interdisciplinary undergraduate education in a living and learning college environment.

And so, while I’ve pursued a career in corporate law and compliance, I’ve also taken advantage of opportunities to engage with this community I care about, from organizing alumni activities in the Los Angeles region during the ’80s, to serving on the board of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation today.

My highest commitment, however, is to the student experience at UC Santa Cruz. I was delighted when Porter Provost Sean Keilen asked me to support the Founders Seminar (Challenge Program) for Porter College, a rigorous program of study for high-achieving first-year undergraduates. It is an example of the best UC Santa Cruz can be for those who will lead us into the future—a place for intimate discourse with faculty and other students, for intellectual foment and challenge, where there’s room and support to question, make mistakes, reconsider, and grow.

As an alumna who leads the Foundation Board of Trustees, I would like to share with you these stories of support and commitment:

  • Layla Cervantes, a student from a humble background who overcame her misgivings and increased her confidence with help from the generous donor who helped her attend an important scientific conference.
  • Bev Crair, who is honoring the bravery and vision of her mother with her pledge establishing the Ruth Bloch Crair Memorial Scholarship, an endowed fund for students at the UC Santa Cruz Lionel Cantú Queer Center.
  • Sage Weil, a successful alumnus who has given $2.5 million to support research in open-source software

I am also excited to share the campus’s financial data from the past fiscal year. As you’ll see, UC Santa Cruz boasts eight new endowed chairs, which allow UC Santa Cruz to recognize, foster, and support academic excellence. They help attract and retain outstanding faculty and graduate students.

UC Santa Cruz raised $32 million over the past year for student support, research, instruction and campus improvements.

Last, please enjoy a listing of some of our most loyal, longest-term donors. Join me in celebrating them and showing our gratitude for their enduring generosity to our beloved university.

Mary E. Doyle (Porter, ’74, biology and economics)
Principal, Global Compliance Advisory


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