A local real estate executive has led a $25 million donation to UCLA’s humanities division, with $20 million going to the university’s philosophy department, UCLA officials announced July 30.
The gift – the largest ever for the school’s humanities division – is from Jordan Kaplan, CEO of Douglas Emmet Inc., a real estate investment trust headquartered in Santa Monica, Kaplan’s wife Christine and his longtime business partner, Ken Panzner.
The trio made the gift in honor of Jordan Kaplan’s parents, Renee and David Kaplan, both longtime UCLA faculty members. David Kaplan is a professor of philosophical logic and the philosophy of language; Renee Kaplan was a professor of clinical psychology.
In recognition of the gift, UCLA’s humanities building will be renamed Renée and David Kaplan Hall.
“This extraordinary gift signals a new era for the humanities at UCLA and, in particular, for philosophy,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in the announcement. “It’s more important than ever to instill in our students the philosophical perspective that helps make sense of today’s complex societal challenges.”
Of the $25 million gift, $20 million will go directly to the philosophy department to help recruit and retain faculty. The remaining $5 million will serve as seed funding for a $15 million endowment to provide financial support for graduate students in the humanities division.
The donation is part of UCLA’s centennial campaign (the university opened in 1919), which has raised $4.2 billion since launched in 2014.
“We are proud to participate in UCLA’s Centennial Campaign and be able to meaningfully support Humanities and Philosophy, areas of study that we feel are particularly important now to the health of our modern society,” Jordan Kaplan said in the announcement. “Our hope is that this gift will encourage others to recognize the importance of these departments and join us in providing them with very much needed support.”
Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.