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Donations Rise at Most UC Campuses : Endowments: Year's gifts totaled $472.3 million systemwide, setting a record. But three Southland campuses suffer declines. The persistent recession is blamed.


SAN FRANCISCO — During a year of bad publicity and grim budget cuts--and perhaps because of it--donors gave a record $472.3 million to the University of California in the year ending June 30, university officials reported Thursday.

However, private giving was sharply off at three Southern California campuses, particularly at UCLA, as the effects of the prolonged recession took its toll on school donors.

UC officials said the record largess--which topped the $430 million donated last year and a previous high of $436 million in 1990--was a show of support for a system that was besieged by state budget cuts and public outrage over its secret approval of a $737,000 golden handshake for former UC President David P. Gardner last year.

"People had a sense of urgency," said Susan Shea, UC's acting director of development policy. Although some donors cited the salary scandal for withholding support this year, she said others came forward with cash and securities because the system was being maligned or was suffering from budget cuts.

UC Regent Ward Connerly of Sacramento used the good news to answer criticism about UC officials belonging to expensive social clubs. Connerly said he has looked into complaints by UCLA students that campus officials are members of Westwood's exclusive Regency Club, which has a $10,000 initiation fee and monthly dues of $140.

"It's a place where the elite will gather," Connerly said during a break at the UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco. "If you want to raise money from these people, you don't go to McDonald's. They aren't there."

A spokeswoman for UCLA's development office said three campus officials hold Regency Club memberships. Fees for James Osterholt, assistant vice chancellor-development, were paid out of the campus's private foundation, but the university did not have information on the other two, the spokeswoman said.

At UCLA, traditionally the leader in gifts, private donations plunged from $113 million last year to $90 million this year. The biggest gift was $4.3 million from the estate of Jules Stein, the late founder of MCA, to the Jules Stein Eye Institute.

Shea blamed UCLA's drop on the fact that the campus is in a "trough" between fund-raising campaigns and the persistent recession.

She said Southern California's hard times also resulted in fewer private gifts to the Santa Barbara and Riverside campuses, where donations were down $1.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively. Private gifts were also down $1.6 million at UC Santa Cruz.

But the shortfalls were more than made up with gains at the other campuses. UC San Francisco took in $24.3 million more this year, $19.7 million of which came in a five-year grant from Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co. The Japanese drug company is underwriting cardiovascular research and retains the right to negotiate exclusive licenses for any inventions coming out of the UC San Francisco studies.

Donors gave $11.2 million more to UC Berkeley; $9.7 million more to UC Davis, and nearly $8.8 million more to UC San Diego. Shea said Berkeley's increase was a "response to the public discussion of how vulnerable the campus was to budget cuts."

UC Irvine received $24.9 million, up $3 million from last year, university officials said.

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