Lee and Dan Gilbert

"It was very easy for me to go to college," said Lee Gilbert, a graduate of Douglass College in New Jersey. "My parents paid for it, and I lived in a dorm. We were served our meals in a dining room by waitresses! So I could particularly appreciate how hard it is for any re-entry student, and especially for women."

January 01, 2011

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UCSC parent and supporter Lee Gilbert.

Lee's empathy with the challenges faced by re-entry students inspired her and her husband, Dan, to endow a scholarship for re-entry students, which they have chosen to fund through a gift annuity. "It's just part of our general estate plan and a way for us to continue giving after we're not here," said Lee. A gift annuity specifies that, in exchange for the gift, the donor or beneficiary receives a quarterly annuity payment for life, with the remaining assets transferred to UC Santa Cruz for use as specified by the donor.

Education has always been important to the Gilberts, who ran an early childhood school for more than 26 years. It was through their own children's education that they discovered UC Santa Cruz. "We were living in New Jersey, and we didn't know anything about Santa Cruz," said Lee. After two of their three sons enrolled at UC Santa Cruz, Lee and Dan came out to visit and immediately connected to the area's natural beauty. When they retired in 1985, they moved to Santa Cruz and continued their involvement with education.

They were early members of Lifelong Learners and experienced something of the re-entry student life themselves, auditing many classes at UC Santa Cruz. "We were very impressed by the caliber of instruction," said Lee, who is also an active member and past president of the UC Santa Cruz Women's Club. Their support for UC Santa Cruz also extends to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and the Chancellor's Fund.

"What interests me is that, as a senior, I'm also dealing with younger people," said Lee of their continued involvement with and support of UC Santa Cruz, "and I have a favorite story about that. Once I was asked to participate in a very small focus group on campus. In the group I said, 'I can't tell you how much I enjoy being with younger people,' and everyone else in the group said, 'We can't tell you how much we enjoy you thinking that we're younger people!'"

To learn more about this scholarship or to establish other need-based scholarships at UC Santa Cruz, please contact John Hopkins at 831-459-3822 or jehopkin@ucsc.edu.