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UC Irvine receives $10.4-million donation for art history, center for inclusive computing

Pictured, left, is Vincent Steckler.
Vincent Steckler, left, along with his wife, Amanda, donated $10.4 million to UC Irvine for art history students and to establish the Center for Responsible, Ethical and Accessible Technologies.
(Courtesy of UC Irvine)

UC Irvine announced Tuesday that it received a $10.4-million gift from the Steckler Charitable Fund to be put toward art history students and establishing a center to make computing inclusive.

About $5 million will be donated to the Center for Responsible, Ethical and Accessible Technologies in the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences. The remaining almost $5.4 million will be allocated to endowed funds for the support of graduate and undergraduate students studying art history.

About 20% of the $10.4-million gift is earmarked for graduate fellowships. That will be matched for the first 10 years by the university’s graduate division, university officials said.

Vincent Steckler — who formed the Steckler Charitable Fund with his wife, Amanda, and an alumnus of the university’s class of 1980 — said in a statement that the center could “dramatically change some of the toxic tendencies within Silicon Valley.”

“And if we change the way Silicon Valley operates, we can change the world,” said Steckler, who graduated from UCI with a bachelor’s of science in information and computer science and in mathematics. “At the same time, art is a crucial part of the human experience.”

About $2 million of the funds allocated for the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences will go toward establishing a faculty chair who will be the first director for the Center for Responsible, Ethical and Accessible Technologies. The remainder of the gift will be finance endowments for activities and a graduate fellowship program. It will also pay for operations for four years.

This is not the first donation that the Stecklers have made to UCI, university officials said.

The Steckler Charitable Fund donated to UCI’s art history department last year and helped finance paid internship opportunities and a student field trip to see artwork embedded in the environment. The information and computer sciences school also received $1 million from Steckler to support women in computing.

That gift created an endowed fellowship for graduate students and an endowed scholarship for undergraduates that receives permanent matching funds, university officials said.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for UCI, and I’m excited to leverage the funding match for the graduate fellowships because it offers such a high return on investment,” Steckler said.

Amanda added in a statement, “I believe it’s our responsibility to give back to the society and institutions that have helped us over the years. I am proud to recognize the importance of art and computer education to society.”

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