UC Santa Barbara has received a $500,000 gift from Sara Miller McCune and SAGE Publications Inc., the company she founded, to establish an endowed chair for the dean of social sciences in the College of Letters and Science.
McCune is a longtime campus benefactor and a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation.
SAGE Publications, with its headquarters in Thousand Oaks, is a leading global and commercial academic publisher with offices in the U.S., the United Kingdom, India, and East Asia.
The recent gift from McCune, the publisher at SAGE, will support the teaching, research, and special activities of Melvin Oliver, a distinguished UCSB professor of sociology and dean of the social sciences.
In honor of the gift, the leadership position will be known as the SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences.
"I am absolutely delighted to express my deep gratitude to Sara Miller McCune for establishing an endowed chair for our dean of social sciences," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.
"Sara is a passionate philanthropist and visionary publisher who has provided critical funding to so many areas of our campus and community. The endowment for our dean of social sciences is an important legacy for UCSB and will enable us to recognize a top scholar and leader in this position. I am very proud that Dean Melvin Oliver will be the inaugural chair holder.
He is a world-renowned scholar in social policy studies, and an exceptional administrative leader."
"Dean Oliver adds so much value to our community that we consider it a privilege to support UCSB in establishing this named chair," said McCune.
"He is an amazing scholar and a wonderful human being.
A world-class university deserves at least 100 of these chairs, and we currently have about two-thirds of that amount.
We are confident that the University of California, Santa Barbara will receive more of this type of support in the next few years."
Endowed chairs are highly prized academic positions that enable a university to attract and retain top scholars and to develop more fully a field of study by providing ongoing financial support for enhanced research and instruction.
Oliver said he was grateful to Sara Miller McCune and to UCSB for the honor.
"It is with great pride that I am the inaugural chair holder for this most important gift to UC Santa Barbara and particularly to the Division of Social Sciences," he said.
"Sara Miller McCune and SAGE together have played an extraordinary role in the publication and dissemination of social science research around the world.
This gift will form a permanent legacy to honor Sara and her late husband's vision.
We will continue to support a social science that is innovative and speaks to the major challenges facing humanity."
Oliver is an eminent scholar and educator who was appointed UCSB dean of social sciences in 2004, after serving several years as vice president of the Ford Foundation where he led a $180-million-per-year grant-making program to reduce poverty and injustice around the world.
He is co-author with Thomas Shapiro of "Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality," an award-winning book that is considered a classic in the field of sociology.
Oliver's research interests focus on poverty, inequality and social policy, and urban, race, and interethnic relations.
Last year, he hosted a national conference at UCSB on "Closing the Racial Wealth Gap" attended by researchers, policy analysts, practitioners, and academics.
The Division of Social Sciences is part of the campus's College of Letters and Science, which enrolls 80 percent of all UCSB undergraduates.
The division includes 13 departments or programs, most of which also offer graduate study, and numerous research centers and institutes.
SAGE Publications is a leading international publisher for scholarly, educational, and professional markets.
It occupies an essential niche between the big conglomerates and university presses.
Over more than 40 years, SAGE has become the home of thousands of book authors and the more than 400 editors and scholarly societies that entrust SAGE with publishing their journals.
In 2005, SAGE Publications contributed $3.5 million to UCSB to launch an interdisciplinary research center for the study of the mind.