Alumnus Richard Breaux ’67, a highly successful builder with a strong background in education and a belief in the power of philanthropy, is the new chairperson of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees.
A trustee since 2013 and former president of the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors, Breaux takes the helm as the foundation — a leadership body that promotes the university by increasing philanthropy and managing and growing the endowment — also welcomes four new members for the 2017-2018 academic year. Recently elected trustees Tunç Doluca ’81, John Gerngross, Jr. ’82, Gus Gurley ’78 ’83 and David R. Henke ’78 are all also UCSB alumni.
“I’m not sure if I was more honored or surprised when I was asked to accept a two-year term as chairperson of the Board of Trustees,” said Breaux, who assumes the role from Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree. “I know this for certain: I will be following in the footsteps of the many highly qualified, exceptionally capable chairs who have come before me. With their guidance, along with the support of Beverly Colgate and the rest of our outstanding Development staff, I welcome the challenges that come with the position. I find it extremely exhilarating to be in the same room with so many bright, talented people and look forward to working with them all as we pursue our goals over the next two years.”
Said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang: “Our campus is honored and thrilled to welcome to the UC Santa Barbara Foundation four distinguished alumni whose accomplishments and unique perspective as graduates will lend valuable insight to our already exceptional board. Each and every trustee, through their visionary guidance and generous support, plays a vital role in enhancing our academic mission and our stature as a preeminent world-class research university. In addition, we are tremendously fortunate to have the leadership of our new board chair, Richard Breaux, also an alumnus of our institution. Richard’s dedication to UC Santa Barbara and his passionate focus as an educator, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist are inspiring, and we are so fortunate and grateful that he has graciously agreed to take on this new role.”
Breaux and his wife Kathryn ’68, who also graduated from UCSB have supported Professor Dennis Clegg’s research on macular degeneration and UCSB Athletics, among other campus efforts.
“Simply put, excellence is expensive,” Breaux said of his belief in the importance of philanthropy. “The best professors and deans, up-to-date, modern buildings and research facilities all cost lots of money. While the State of California used to underwrite a large portion of UC’s budget, this percentage has significantly decreased over the past eight years, but the need for the professors, programs and buildings has not.”
Enter the UC Santa Barbara Foundation. As UCSB’s principal fundraising organization, the nonprofit foundation generates and administers private gifts to the campus, including support for students, research and instruction. It also ensures the appropriate use of all private funds.
Helping to forge links between the professional and business communities and the campus to increase private support for university programs, the foundation plays a critical role in promoting and achieving fundraising goals and priorities. The board consists of philanthropic leaders sharing a commitment to advance UCSB’s mission and sustain its reputation for excellence.
More about the new trustees for the 2017–2018 year:
• Tunç Doluca ’81 — President and CEO, Maxim Integrated; current board chair, Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) (San Jose)
• John Gerngross, Jr. ’82 — Founder, Condor Engineering, Inc.; trustee, Sea Education Association; board member, Lobero Theatre and Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons (Santa Barbara)
• Gus Gurley ’78 ’83 — Co-founder, Digital Instruments; software developer, neural systems (Santa Barbara)
• David Henke ’78 — Former senior vice president engineering and operations, LinkedIn; advisory board member, Avid Secure, Elementum SCM, NerdWallet, SignifAI; board member, Brigade Media
“We are so fortunate to have the commitment and guidance of Dick Breaux as our new foundation chair,” said Beverly Colgate, executive director of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation. “As an alum and longtime trustee, Dick brings a deep knowledge of the history and growth of the campus that enhances his leadership.”
Colgate continued, “We are also pleased to welcome our new trustees, all with impressive careers, who will undoubtedly contribute to the board in terms of vision and strategic thinking. These unique and prominent individuals have a demonstrated knowledge of the importance of both philanthropy and advocacy.”
Breaux was the founder and chief executive officer of Peninsula Custom Homes, Inc., a residential construction company. After graduating from UCSB, he went on to earn a master of arts degree and a teaching credential from Stanford. Before starting his company, Breaux spent nine years teaching high school English and coaching football. During that same time, he also founded the School-Within-a-School, an advanced program for underachieving, economically disadvantaged students. In 2008, Breaux was inducted into the Aragon High School Athletic Hall of Fame, recognized for his role in revitalizing the football program and his overall win-loss record.
A former president and board member of the California Golf Club of San Francisco, Breaux was on the Board of Governors at the Winchester Golf and Country Club and chaired the Architect and Design Review Board at the same development. He was elected to the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2007 and has served as the chair of its Finance Committee, its secretary/treasurer and past president.
The UC Santa Barbara Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees, which includes up to 100 elected distinguished trustees and 14 additional university representatives, and complies with the University of California Policy on Campus Foundations set by the Regents of the University of California. From the foundation’s inception in 1973, members of its board have formed a valuable link between UC Santa Barbara and the local, regional and national communities. As they encourage private gifts and identify and cultivate potential donors, the trustees build interest and support for the campus and communicate to the public an informed understanding of UCSB’s mission.