Argyros couple donates $5 million to UC Irvine

UC Irvine has received a $5-million gift from a Newport Beach couple that will go toward building the campus' new Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.

UCI officials announced the donation from philanthropists Julia and George Argyros on Thursday night at the institute's groundbreaking during the School of Medicine's gala Science Under the Stars, according to a UCI news release.

George Argyros is a former U.S. ambassador to Spain. The gift will establish the Julia & George Argyros Ambulatory Surgery Center at the institute.

The 70,000-square-foot, $31-million institute will house patient exam and waiting areas, an outpatient surgery center, an optical shop and office space. The building is expected to be completed in 2013, the release said.

Herbert, the former chief executive of Irvine-based Allergan Inc., made the initial $10-million naming gift in 2007.

UCI's goals for the eye institute are to bring innovative eye care and research to Orange County.

"We're committed to meeting the community's needs and elevating the level of eye care in Orange County to the best anywhere, nationally or internationally," Dr. Roger Steinert, the institute's director, said in a prepared statement.

— Alexandra Baird

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