UCSB Alumnus and Songwriter Jack Johnson Donates $50,000 for Disabled Students

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 16:00
Santa Barbara, CA

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Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson

Singer and songwriter Jack Johnson and his wife, Kim, both UC Santa Barbara graduates, have made a $50,000 contribution to the campus to support students with serious medical conditions through the Disabled Students Program.

The recent gift honors the courageous life of Danny Riley, who was a UCSB student when he died of brain cancer in 2007.

The Danny Riley Fund will help undergraduates with cancer and other serious illnesses to pursue their education at UCSB by providing support for financial aid, medication, housing, adaptive equipment, home care, transportation, family visits, and other special needs.

"Our cousin, Danny Riley, lived life to the fullest and didn't let his battle with cancer deter him from his dream of attending UCSB," said Jack Johnson.

"Kim and I created the Danny Riley Fund to support students who face similar challenges and to pass along Danny's zest for life."

Gary White, director of the campus's Disabled Students Program, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Johnsons for their important contribution.

"The Danny Riley Fund is already helping students by making it possible for parents to be here at critical times," he said. "This very generous gift will greatly enhance the services we provide."

Riley, Kim Johnson's cousin, was diagnosed with brain cancer in his junior year of high school.

He wrote about the experience on his application to UCSB, noting that "living a normal life with cancer" was one of his "proudest achievements."

Despite interruptions for medical treatment, he was an honor student at UCSB.

Riley shared Jack Johnson's passion for music and sang background vocals on one of his recordings.

"Danny said he was always meeting angels at UCSB in the disabled students office and at the health center, angels who helped him in every way they could," said his father, Frank Riley.

Last fall, the Riley family hosted a reception on campus to thank those who knew and supported their son.

A tree was planted in Danny Riley's memory in the patio of the Student Health Services building.