Don Gevirtz, a successful businessman and former U.S. ambassador, died Sunday, April 22, in Montecito, Ca. At UC Santa Barbara, Gevirtz was a devoted volunteer leader and benefactor of the campus. Following are statements from UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang and Jules Zimmer, Dean of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, and information about Gevirtz's involvement with UCSB.
"Don Gevirtz was not only a major supporter of UCSB----he was an education visionary who helped inspire students, scholars, and policymakers. His sudden death is a major loss for our institution, our community, our state, and our nation. Our Graduate School of Education is named in honor of Ambassador and Mrs. Gevirtz. This important legacy will live on and keep the impact of all that Don helped us accomplish always in our minds and in our hearts."
Henry T. Yang UCSB Chancellor
"Don's spirit, energy, and passion for education transcend any words. Don had a dream to leave a legacy to education, and we at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education are blessed to be part of that dream. The school is committed to fulfilling Don's vision to improve public education on behalf of all children. His leadership and friendship inspired all of us to be more than we thought we could be. Our deepest condolences to Marilyn and the entire Gevirtz family. We will all miss him."
Jules Zimmer, Dean Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
Don and Marilyn Gevirtz were partners in their philanthropic support for education and related programs aimed at improving the well being of children. Over the years, the couple has made many generous gifts to UC Santa Barbara to improve public education.
Most recently, the Gevirtzes contributed $10 million to UCSB's Graduate School of Education, which was named in their honor. The professional school also houses the Gevirtz Research Center, founded by Don and Marilyn Gevirtz in 1996. Don Gevirtz, a successful businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Fiji, served as chairman of the board of directors at the center and was a devoted volunteer leader at the school.
In making their namesake gift last year, the Gevirtzes voiced their confidence that the school can raise an additional $40 million to improve public education. Don challenged others to step forward and worked tirelessly toward that goal.
At a special reception at UCSB attended by family and friends of the benefactors last fall that included first lady of California, Sharon Davis, Davis said, with their gift "the Gevirtzes have helped take the goal of a well-qualified teacher in every classroom one step closer to reality."
In addition, Don Gevirtz was a trustee of The UCSB Foundation and a visiting professor in UCSB's Global and International Studies Program. Marilyn Gevirtz is a trustee of The UCSB Foundation.
In recognition of the couple's dedication to UCSB, the Gevirtzes were named Honorary Alumni in 1996.