photo of Michael and Debbie Linick at Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
Michael and Debbie Linick at Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina. Photo courtesy of Michael Linick.

When Col. Michael Linick, U.S. Army, Ret. and his wife, Debbie, started planning their estate, they decided that their resources were abundant enough that it wouldn’t make sense to leave everything to their children. So they added their favorite causes to their will. For Michael, one of those is UC Santa Cruz.

“Ever since I was able to actually afford to, I’ve given to UC Santa Cruz,” Michael Linick (Merrill ‘83, politics) says. “I’ve always thought it was a seminal part of supporting who I have become.”

Introduction to policy

It was at UC Santa Cruz in the early 1980s that Linick discovered the field of political theory. He had picked a politics class to meet a requirement, and the late Professor Peter Euben introduced him to analyzing political questions through foundational documents.

“That’s become a big part of how I sort through problems,” Linick says.

He took advantage of UC Santa Cruz’s study abroad program with a term in York, England, where he furthered his exploration of political theory. He describes that as an amazing experience, and York remains one of his favorite places.

He put his education to work during a long career in the Army, the latter half of which was focused on solving policy questions. He has continued his policy analysis work at the Rand Corporation. At Rand he also works with a large staff of economists, which draws on his economics minor.

Generosity is a way of life

Linick grew up with the Jewish culture of giving to others, and it has always been a part of his life.

“Anyone who joins the military believes in service to others,” he says. “Even at Sunday school we’d all bring a quarter and drop it in the tzedakah box.”

And it’s been a two-way street: Linick benefited when others gave to youth programs.

“If they were willing to invest in me, how can I not want to invest in the next generation?” he says.

Formative experiences

Linick chose UC Santa Cruz because he was looking for a school that was “small enough that I didn’t feel lost and big enough that I didn’t feel cramped.”

His choice meant he was able to play intercollegiate rugby, which he doubts he would have been able to do elsewhere. At the same time, Merrill College provided opportunities to interact with students from around the world, especially South Asia.

As a platoon leader and then as a company commander, he would come to draw on his experience as an RA in the Merrill dorm.

“I’ve always known that a lot of who I am was bound up in there,” he says.

And while his decades as a military officer might not represent the stereotypical Banana Slug, he appreciates the wide range of career paths the university supports.

“It produces a bunch of people across the political spectrum and across the career spectrum,” he says, “and I want to make sure it continues to do so.”

Learn about including UC Santa Cruz in your estate planning.