Although UCSB maintains the stigma as a party school, gleaning nicknames such as U Can Study Buzzed and University of Casual Sex and Beer, the University of California, Santa Barbara has actually skyrocketed in academics and become one of the chief hubs for scientific research in the past three decades. With five Nobel laureates on its staff, it is no surprise that UCSB has attained recognition as an exceptional research doctoral program. Our university is currently highly ranked in the National Research Council's most recent survey of research doctoral programs, placing first in the country in materials sciences based on a compendium of scores in multitudinous categories. UCSB’s accumulated scores for the chemical engineering category put us in third place, just after Caltech and UC Berkeley. As for the electrical engineering category, UCSB finished in fifth place, following Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Caltech. On Saturday, May 12, UCSB Alumni Jeffrey Henley and his wife Judy aided in our mobilization towards a more academically acknowledged school when they pledged $50 million dollars to UCSB.
Henley and his wife stated in a telephone interview that their hope for their incredibly generous donation is to support school research as well as exemplify the need for private contributions to public schools, considering the UC system’s current economic problems and massive reductions in state funding. In addition, the Henleys want their charitable donation to correct the public’s perception of UCSB, changing the public’s view of UCSB as just a party school to UCSB’s real status as an academically excellent university.
"I'm a product of it and I love it," Henley said of UCSB. "People like myself have to step up more and more to help the UC system. It's one of the remaining crown jewels of California and is a great economic engine for California and the United States. We can't let it deteriorate or stand still.”
Of the Henley’s $50 million pledge to our university, $25 million has been given upfront to finance a new building, which will be named Henley Hall. Henley Hall will hold the Institute for Energy Efficiency, in which $5 million will be given to recruit and retain the institute faculty. Nevertheless, UCSB must acquire an additional $25 million for the rest of the building’s necessities. Furthermore, the Henleys have pledged another $20 million to finance and fund the College of Engineering, accounting for faculty recruitment, graduate student support, and equipment.