Irvine businessman and crew lover Henry T. Nicholas III gave $1.28 million to UC Irvine athletics Tuesday in a ceremony at the university’s crew facility at Newport Beach’s Shellmaker Island. It was the largest athletic gift in the school’s 34-year history and will be used to build a boathouse for the crew team and to create an endowment designed to raise the competitive level of the group.

Nicholas, 39, was a member of the UCLA crew team in the early 1980s. He went on to co-found Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. in 1991 and serves as its president and CEO. The company is an international powerhouse in the microelectronics industry for digital cable television, cable data modems and data networking. He made the donation in a stock transfer of 10,000 Broadcom shares valued at $1.28 million.