New Endowments to Benefit Students

Apr 11, 2007

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

The Wolfe scholarship supports aerospace engineering students.

Undergraduate students in the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science not only excel in the classroom, but are making important contributions in the laboratory and through extracurricular activities, as well.

Thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, and families, our students will be able to spend more time on engineering projects, and less time worrying about paying their UCLA fees.

Four new endowed scholarships have been established in the School that will support exceptional engineering students in perpetuity.

The Jonathan David Wolfe Memorial Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering established by the Wolfe family honors Jonathan Wolfe, a three-time mechanical and aerospace engineering alumnus (BS ’94, MS ’94, PhD ’01).

“His life was closely intertwined with UCLA – he was a part of the School for nearly half of his life,” recalled his mother, Elaine Wolfe. “After he graduated, he worked in Professor Jason Speyer’s lab as a researcher. He loved UCLA – and he really learning new things. We hope the scholarship will help students to pursue their dreams and continue despite any financial difficulty.”

The Wolfe scholarship will support junior or senior-level undergraduate students majoring in aerospace engineering with a minimum GPA of at least 3.5.

“During his treatment for cancer, working in the School gave him a sense of normalcy and we were grateful to the department for keeping him busy,” said father Kenneth Wolfe. “Establishing the scholarship in his memory is a way for us to give back.”

Dr. Adrienne Lavine, chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department explained, “Jonathan had become very much a part of our department after obtaining all his degrees with us and remaining on as a researcher and lecturer. His close connection to our department makes this gift all the more meaningful.”

Established by Mark MS ’92, PhD ’95 and Sharon BA ‘91 Berman, The Berman Family Undergraduate Scholarship will support an electrical engineering junior with minimum 3.0 GPA.

The Berman’s are both graduates and ardent supporters of UCLA. Growing up in
Los Angeles, they had always respected the University and its accomplishments.
When it came time to choose a graduate program, Mark learned that the UCLA
Engineering school was among the best in the country. He felt his graduate school experience was really fantastic — the courses were challenging, the professors insightful, and classmates always provided a great environment of teamwork and competition.

After finishing his degree, Mark was able to use the knowledge and experience in subsequent work as a chip designer at Broadcom Corporation. The value of the education and contacts of their UCLA experience has motivated them to make this contribution to UCLA Engineering.

When asked what difference he hopes the establishment of The Berman Family Undergraduate Scholarship will make, Berman said, “The scholarship that we are endowing at the UCLA Engineering school will hopefully motivate some future applicants to attend UCLA when they might otherwise not have the means to do so. We hope that the larger the base of available scholarship funds, the more exceptional students will be able to attend UCLA, which in turn will increase the quality of the educational experience. Engineering scholarships are not so different from Athletic scholarships: they both serve to allow the school to open its doors to more well-qualified students, who turn around and reward the school with higher achievements. This is a spiral that is worth investing in.”

Lloyd Polentz MS ’57 made his scholarship gift to UCLA Engineering to the school’s first dean, Llewellyn M.K. Boelter. “He helped me obtain my BS degree [at UC Berkeley] and also my MS degree [here at UCLA Engineering]. Without his encouragement and support I doubt that I’d have obtained either.” Lloyd admired Boelter’s philosophy that mechanical engineering is really an application of the fundamental principles, as opposed to the “handbook engineering” practiced by so many graduate engineers. He recalls having his thesis proposal rejected by one professor who told him it was a bad topic because it had never been done before. This was a complete contrast to Boelter’s philosophy, and made him appreciate Boelter even more.

It is Lloyd’s hope that this scholarship will help some students in their efforts to graduate, and also to appreciate Boelter’s philosophy.

UCLA Engineering appreciates all of the generous donors who have established new endowments to support our students as part of the Enhancing Engineering Excellence Initiative. These scholarships and fellowships enable our students to achieve their dreams.

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