History was made on May 12 as the Oracle Chairman, Jeff Henley, donated $50 million to the Institute for Energy Efficiency and the College of Engineering. The donation, which is the largest gift the school has ever received and even one of the largest donations recorded in the region, was announced at the Campaign for UC Santa Barbara’s kickoff event at UCSB’s Brenn Hall.
Henley, who graduated from UCSB in 1966, is one of the university’s biggest benefactors. The multi-year campaign started in 2004 with a goal of raising $350 million and has since raised $710 million and upped the goal to $1 billion.
Henley and his wife Judy, an honorary alumnus since 2009, will fund scientific research at the university. The gift is divided into two parts: $39 million is allocated to building a new hall at the Institute for Energy Efficiency, and $20 million will go to the College of Engineering for general use.
“We call this an investment in the school, not a gift,” Henley said the event. “I know a few students at the Institute for Energy Efficiency who said they were choosing between UCSB and Berkeley. They said they came because of the institute. And kids today need really good equipment and they need labs and space to study technology.”
“The philanthropic leadership of Jeff and Judy Henley is deeply inspiring; we are thrilled by their vision and generosity, and excited about the momentum their gift provides as we launch the next phase of our billion-dollar Campaign for UC Santa Barbara, “ Chancellor Henry Yang said in a news release. “Jeff and Judy have contributed to our university in countless ways over the years, including the Henley Chair in Economics and the beautiful Henley Gate that stands as the iconic entrance to our campus. We are tremendously honored that this transformative $50 million gift will become part of the Henleys’ living legacy at UC Santa Barbara.”
In addition to the gate and economic chair position, the Henleys have also donated the school’s intercollegiate athletics department and made other gifts to the College of Engineering. At the event, Henley said the donation to UCSB is the largest he and his wife have ever made.
“UCSB is the best-kept secret in the world,” Henley said. “I went here in the 1960s, and one of the great things about the school is that it makes no apologies for being fun. I was a serious student, but I went to the beach and had a lot of fun. We made this donation because we finally found something we thought was worth this investment.”