UC Irvine computer science program to get $35.5 million in university’s largest alumni gift

 Jo and Paul Butterworth posing for a photo, both smiling, with Jo resting her right hand on Paul's right shoulder.
UC Irvine alumni Jo, left, and Paul Butterworth named the school as beneficiary of their estate. The largest gift in its history will fund research initiatives and support students in the computer science program.
(Courtesy of Roland Lane Photography)
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UC Irvine will receive a $35.5-million gift from the estate of alumni Paul and Jo Butterworth, the school announced Monday.

The donation, which is the largest alumni gift in the university’s history, will support the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. It will fund research initiatives and support students through awards, fellowships and scholarships, university officials said in a news release.

Paul Butterworth was one of the first graduates of UC Irvine’s computer science program in the mid-1970s, according to the university. He went on to co-found the enterprise software company Vantiq.


Butterworth majored in engineering before changing to computer science and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1974.

“UCI is where I began my career as a computer scientist and software engineer,” he said in a statement. “While at UCI, I met another person who was a graduate student at the time, and we ended up working together well into the 1980s. You could say UCI is where all of my success really started.”

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Butterworth said he would not have been able to finish his degree without the financial support he received in college.

“I was considering not going to the university unless I received financial aid, because I didn’t have any money. But when UCI came through with a package to help out, that made all the difference in the world,” he said. “This is what inspired us to pledge support for students — so they can follow their dreams despite their financial situations.”

Jo Butterworth earned her bachelor’s degree in 1975 from UC Irvine’s school of social sciences.

Chancellor Howard Gillman called the Butterworths “the greatest champions of students at our institution.”


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In addition to co-founding Vantiq, Paul Butterworth co-founded the cloud platform development company Emotive and worked in computer engineering and technology roles at Oracle, Sun and Ingres. He’s been part of the computer science industry for the last 50 years, according to the university.

“Universities were the catalyst for all of this progress, because that’s where the fundamental technologies were developed,” Butterworth said. “That’s why Jo and I are committed to supporting UCI and its students: Education is where we can have the biggest impact.”