UCSB Receives $1 Million Gift to Establish Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies

Monday, December 3, 2007 - 16:00
Santa Barbara, CA

UC Santa Barbara has received a $1 million gift from Marsha and Jay Glazer to establish an endowed chair in Jewish Studies and help launch a major new educational initiative in the interdisciplinary field.

The Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair will support a professorship in the field of Jewish Studies while the Marsha and Jay Glazer Jewish Studies Program Endowment will provide additional support for faculty and research, student support, curriculum and programming in Jewish Studies.

"We are immensely grateful to Marsha and Jay Glazer for their generous and visionary gifts to our Jewish Studies Program," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "The Glazer endowments will elevate the level of research and teaching in Jewish Studies and our world-renowned Department of Religious Studies, as well as across our campus where interdisciplinary collaboration is the hallmark."

Added David Marshall, dean of humanities and fine arts: "This inspiring gift from Marsha and Jay Glazer will help us launch a new Jewish Studies Initiative, designed to build on our strengths in this important, interdisciplinary area of study and extend our teaching and scholarship. Raising the profile of Jewish Studies scholarship and teaching on campus, this initiative will strengthen intellectual and cultural communities beyond the campus in the best tradition of a great public university. It aims to stimulate new scholarship and thinking and to create increased understanding of the history and culture of Judaism."

Over the next five years, the university hopes to raise additional funds to expand Jewish Studies curricula and create a Center for Jewish Studies that would coordinate programming, courses, research projects, grants and fellowships, and communication with students, faculty, staff, and the Santa Barbara community.

"Marsha and I are thrilled to make the initial gift to Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara that provides seed money for what we hope will be a long and storied program that is stimulating for undergraduate and graduate students and will help to build better understanding in the world," said Jay Glazer.

A Jewish Studies minor at UCSB was established in 1995 and currently resides in the Department of Religious Studies. Twenty-five faculty members in more than 10 departments teach courses in literature, history, art, and film on a variety of subjects, including German Judaism, American Jewish novelists, the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Western and Eastern European countries, Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora, the politics of the Middle East, Jewish communities of medieval Spain, the architectural history of modern Jerusalem, and Holocaust studies. The program includes language courses in both Biblical and modern Hebrew as well as Yiddish.

Endowed chairs are important to the future of the campus because they make it possible for UCSB to attract and retain leading scholars.

Investment income generated by the endowment provides the chair holder with ongoing support for research and instruction, scholarships and fellowships, innovative programs, and facilities.

Since the inception of The Campaign for UC Santa Barbara in 2000, UCSB's endowment -- now estimated at $190 million -- has grown by $115 million. Forty-four new endowed professorships have been established during the campaign, bringing UCSB's total to 68.

About the donors

Part-time Montecito residents Marsha and Jay Glazer became acquainted with UCSB through their daughter, Ellie, who graduated last year with a bachelor's degree in art history. Marsha, an art collector and the daughter of Samuel and Althea Stroum, was raised in Seattle. Jay, a business entrepreneur and the son of Irving and Pat Glazer, grew up in Anderson, Indiana. Both families have a long history of philanthropy, having given generously to their respective hometown universities --the University of Washington and Indiana University -- to help advance the field of Jewish Studies.

Marsha and Jay have carried on their families' traditions of philanthropy. Marsha, whose collection of modern and contemporary art is currently ranked among the most respected privately owned collections in the world, began collecting in the late 1980s. In 2005, she loaned 24 rarely seen pieces by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, David Hockney, Jackson Pollock, and Wayne Thiebaud, and other artists to the University Art Museum at UCSB for a major exhibition titled "Out of Site: Selections from the Marsha S. Glazer Collection."