A Newport Beach woman has given a record-breaking $1-million gift to UC Irvine's School of Fine Arts to support undergraduate scholarships in piano, violin, viola and cello, a campus spokesman announced Thursday.
The gift from Marjorie Rawlins, a longtime patron and supporter of UCI's music programs, is the largest private donation ever made to the School of Fine Arts, said spokesman Scott Nelson.
Rawlins, 74, praised UCI's fine arts and music programs and said she hoped the scholarships would "go to talented students who are going to continue with music, either ending up as performers or teachers. I have a lot of faith in young people."
The gift will establish the Marjorie and Robert Rawlins Endowment Fund, named for the donor and her late husband, a former engineer and venture capitalist. Interest from the endowment will fund four scholarships worth $3,000, each starting in fall. That number is expected to increase to 16 scholarships, starting in 1998 and continuing indefinitely. Additional income from the endowment will pay for master classes taught by outstanding musicians from throughout the world, Nelson said.
"I'm ecstatic. I'm thrilled. We're in a real defining stage of the music department at UCI. This is really going to be a great attitude booster," said Alfred Lang, chair of the music department.
"Marjorie has always been an ardent supporter of fine arts and the music program in particular. This speaks volumes about the kind of person she is," he said.
The scholarships, which will provide about 75% of the cost of a student's education, will offer potential recruits a major incentive to come to UCI, he said.
"We are always competing with other institutions that have a larger scholarship base, but this will put us on a much more even playing field," Lang added.
Nelson also noted that the gift comes in the same week as a $1-million grant to UCI's neurobiology department.
"It's been a pretty good week for us."