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The Baskin School of Engineering and Baskin Engineering Building are named in honor of engineer and retired developer Jack Baskin, whose gifts to the Baskin School of Engineering since 1983 total nearly $7 million. This naming recognizes Jack Baskin's "extraordinary generosity to the campus and his remarkable role in the growth and development of the engineering program," former Chancellor M.R.C Greenwood said. Patrick Mantey, former dean of the Baskin School of Engineering, describes Baskin's role as "a driving force in the establishment of the engineering school and the rapid expansion of our programs."
In 1983, Baskin donated $1 million to help launch the computer engineering program at UCSC. The funds helped establish a computer center and endowed a chair in computer engineering. In 1997, he gave $5 million, the largest single donation in the history of the campus, to help launch the Baskin School of Engineering.
The Jack Baskin Engineering Building houses laboratories, lecture rooms, faculty offices, administrative offices, and student offices for the Baskin School of Engineering. Other campus programs and offices also occupy parts of the building. By 2010, however, the engineering school is expected to occupy the entire building.
Baskin is a former trustee and former president of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation and has been involved with the campus for more than 25 years. He has supported numerous campus programs and activities in addition to the Baskin School of Engineering, including the Institute of Marine Sciences, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, an endowed chair in psychology, a scholarship in literature, and instruction in the arts.