An endowed chair in experimental physics has been established at UC Santa Barbara with a $510,000 gift from two UCSB alumni, Bruce and Susan Worster, of Saratoga.
The Worster Chair in Experimental Physics will enable the Physics Department to support financially the pioneering research and professional activities of a distinguished faculty member.
UCSB's Physics Department is widely regarded as one of the country's premier departments in the field.
Endowed chairs form an academic tradition of excellence dating back to Renaissance England.
They offer strong financial incentives to retain outstanding professors and attract top-flight faculty from other institutions, and only the best scholars are chosen to fill them.
"We are most grateful to our alumni Bruce and Susan Worster for their visionary and generous endowment to our highly acclaimed Physics Department," said UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang.
"The competition for the recruitment and retention of top-notch experimental physicists today is fierce.
This endowment comes at a critical time and will be of significant help to our efforts in this area."
Susan Worster, a 1970 graduate of the university and a trustee of The UCSB Foundation, said, "As students we learned from highly principled and dedicated professors, who transferred the value of learning to their students. Our hope is that this gift will help enhance the academic process for faculty, students, and staff, and that quality people will continue to come to work and study at UCSB."
At UCSB, money for a chair is invested, and the annual interest income supports academic work in a specific subject.
This essentially guarantees permanent funding for the chair and those appointed to it.
This funding provides no-strings research money that can be used for a host of projects ---- graduate student support, lecture programs and conferences, scholarships, laboratory expenses, travel ---- all devoted to a specific and carefully chosen subject.
"The Worster Chair in Experimental Physics will be crucial in attracting and retaining outstanding faculty in this most important and highly competitive area," said Rollin Morrison, UCSB professor of physics. (Morrison was a junior faculty member during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Bruce Worster was completing his graduate studies in physics at UCSB.) Morrison was chair of the Physics Department when the gift was made.
"We wanted to acknowledge the benefits we realized from our education at UCSB," said Bruce Worster, who earned his doctorate in physics in 1971.
"We have been fortunate in our careers, and the timing was favorable for us to make a gift."
The Worster professorship will bring UCSB's total number of endowed chairs to 30 in disciplines that span the academic spectrum.