Allan J. Dyson

"You can have a good public university based on what the state budget is, but you can't have a great public university without having the active involvement of donors in all sorts of areas, donors small and large," said Allan J. Dyson, University Librarian Emeritus of UC Santa Cruz.

February 09, 2011

Allan J. Dyson

Dyson has a personal perspective on both sides of the equation. During his nearly 25-year tenure he guided the University Library through major shifts in state support, while the number of UC Santa Cruz students doubled, the cost of library materials escalated, and information technology entered the digital age. He is also a committed UC Santa Cruz donor who has used the power of planned giving to link his name permanently with the forthcoming McHenry Library expansion and renovation.

The McHenry Library project was to be completed about the same time Dyson expected to retire, but fluctuations in the state's economy set the project timeline back nearly a decade. Instead of celebrating his retirement with a ribbon cutting, Dyson celebrated the passage of the state bond issue that secured funding for the project. And that's when he and his wife, Susan C. Cooper, realized they had an opportunity to make a difference in the new project.

"We wanted to have something enduring in this new building," said Dyson, "so we made a gift that will create a discretionary fund future University Librarians can use to enhance and equip library facilities." In recognition of their contribution, a space in the addition will be named in honor of Dyson.

In structuring their gift, Dyson and Cooper chose a pooled income fund. "It provided an immediate tax break in the year we gave it," said Dyson, "in addition to partially tax-free income during my lifetime."

Pooled income funds are similar to mutual funds. Donations are transferred into a pooled fund that is invested by the University of California Office of the Treasurer. All income generated by each donor's portion of the fund is distributed to that donor. Upon termination of the donor's portion of the pooled income fund, the remaining assets are transferred to UC Santa Cruz for use as specified by the donor.

"State schools are always lagging behind in their funding because the state doesn't forward fund very much," said Dyson. "They'll let you build a building after you're bursting at the seams. They'll fund the students after they're already here. There's very little chance to develop excellence under that kind of funding scenario using only the state budget."

With support from forward-thinking donors like Allan Dyson and Susan Cooper, the University Library will continue to deliver excellence to the campus and the Santa Cruz community with an outstanding facility that provides access to its growing collection of print and electronic resources.

To learn more about planned giving at UC Santa Cruz, please contact Virginia Rivera at (831) 459-5227 or