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UCSC presents Jack Baskin with achievement award

UCSC presents Jack Baskin with achievement award
UCSC presents Jack Baskin with achievement award
Monday, November 7, 2005

Santa Cruz philanthropist and community leader Jack Baskin was honored at the UC Santa Cruz annual Scholarships Benefit Dinner as the first recipient of UCSC’s Fiat Lux award. Chancellor Denice Denton and UC Santa Cruz Foundation President Anuradha Maitra Luther presented the award during the annual event that celebrates raising of funds for student support.

First-ever Fiat Lux award recognizes long history of campus engagementA campus benefactor for more than 30 years, Baskin received a standing ovation as he accepted the award, given in recognition of his distinguished and sustained service in support of the campus's programs and goals.

Commenting on the honor, Baskin recalled that his involvement with the campus began when he was invited by founding chancellor Dean McHenry to serve as the only non-UCSC staff member on the original campus physical planning committee.

Baskin credited the $5 million gift that established the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, to his wife, Peggy Downes Baskin. "She encouraged me to 'do something dear to my heart,'" said Baskin, who was an aeronautical engineer prior to his successful career in housing construction.

In a surprise announcement, Chancellor Denton revealed that Baskin's family, friends, and UCSC colleagues have created the Jack Baskin Engineering Scholarship in his honor. The new fund, which will support engineering students at UCSC, honors Baskin's educational leadership and vision for young engineers. Baskin also received honorary proclamations from the U.S. Senate, the California State Assembly, and the City of Santa Cruz.

Over the years, Baskin has contributed his time, expertise, and funding to many other UC Santa Cruz endeavors in addition to engineering, including the Long Marine Lab, arts programs, the psychology department, and various other projects and scholarships. He has served as a member of the Board of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation since 1978, including two years as president.

The son of immigrant parents who spoke no English when they arrived in the U.S., Baskin is among the foremost philanthropists in the region, supporting the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, which he helped to found, Dominican Hospital, Cabrillo College, and many organizations that serve children, families, and senior citizens. He was the first in his family to attend college, earning a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from New York University in 1940.

The Fiat Lux award was created to recognize a UC Santa Cruz alumnus or friend who has demonstrated outstanding achievement, dedication, and service in support of the University's programs and goals. It is given for distinguished and sustained service to the University.