Preparing future generations of scholars, scientists, and engineers is one of the primary purposes of a research university such as UC Santa Barbara.
To help strengthen UCSB's ability to compete with other institutions in recruiting high-caliber graduate students, the campus has received a $500,000 endowment from alumnus Fredric Steck, of Santa Ynez, and the Fredric E. Steck Family Foundation.
The gift will provide ongoing financial support that will enable UCSB to expand its graduate programs by providing fellowships and teaching assistantships, which are necessary to attract top students across the disciplines.
(An endowment consists of funds that are invested in order to provide interest income in perpetuity.)
Steck, who is also a trustee of The UCSB Foundation, said he made the gift to recognize the impressive accomplishments of UCSB graduate students and to honor the memory of his father, Emil Steck, Jr., for whom the endowment in the Graduate Division is named.
"My father valued his own education as the most significant experience shaping his life and his career as an attorney," said Fredric Steck.
"If he knew that a graduate fellowship at UCSB was named in his honor without restriction to discipline, he would view this as a crowning achievement in a lifetime dedicated to achievement and education."
Emil Steck, Jr. was a gifted student.
At the age of 16, his father sent him to the University of Southern California where he graduated summa cum laude.
He went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School, and later became a nationally recognized expert in the fields of labor law and government contracts.
"My father's gift to his children was that they all knew that they would follow in his educational footsteps to every extent possible," said Fredric Steck.
"We established this endowment so that others may continue his tradition of excellence through education."
Charles Li, dean of the Graduate Division, said, "UCSB is extremely grateful to Fredric Steck and the Steck Family Foundation for this generous endowment.
With recent increases in graduate student fees and non-resident tuition, private donations have become increasingly important if UCSB is to be competitive in recruiting and retaining outstanding graduate students and assisting their scholarly development."