Developer Jack Baskin Gives $5 Million for UC Santa Cruz Engineering School

Associated Press

A retired developer is making the largest gift ever to UC Santa Cruz, a $5-million donation for its new School of Engineering.

Jack Baskin, who built housing in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, will give UC Santa Cruz at least $3 million over the next two years to spend as it wishes on the school. He also is contributing $2 million to endow the school.

The Jack Baskin School of Engineering, the first professional school at UC Santa Cruz, starts this fall. It will incorporate existing departments of computer engineering and computer science.

Baskin, 77, already has given UC Santa Cruz $1.5 million to support computer engineering, arts instruction and the Institute of Marine Sciences. He also endowed a chair in psychology and a literature scholarship.

The son of poor Russian immigrants, Baskin earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering at New York University in 1940, became a general contractor in Southern California after World War II and moved to the Bay Area in the late 1960s and later moved to Santa Cruz.


“What I’m doing in some sense is paying back the community, the university and the country for what they did for my parents, what they did for me,” Baskin said.