Professor and Family Give $1 Million to UCLA Engineering

Sep 8, 2014

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

By Bill Kisliuk

Oscar Stafsudd Jr. earned three degrees at UCLA. A member of the faculty for 47 years, he has advised nearly 60 doctoral students at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. Plus, he has seen two younger family members graduate from the engineering school.

In recognition of these deep ties, Stafsudd and his wife, Jacqueline, also a UCLA graduate, determined that the UCLA–Stafsudd connection would continue indefinitely. The couple has made an estate gift of $1 million to UCLA Engineering.

“UCLA has given my family so much,” the professor said. “This is our way of expressing our gratitude.”

Estate gifts and other forms of planned giving — bequests, retirement plans and charitable annuities — are effective ways to establish a permanent legacy on campus while maintaining financial flexibility. The gifts cost donors nothing up front and often result in immediate tax benefits.

Stafsudd, who was the first member of his family to graduate from high school, has already contributed a great deal to UCLA as a researcher and instructor.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1959, his master’s in 1961 and his doctorate in 1967. His early research was in lasers, infrared detection systems and semiconductors used in solar cells. In recent years, he has collaborated with Dr. Warren Grundfest, a professor of bioengineering at UCLA, on medical imaging technology. Their research could lead to more precise determinations of the boundaries between healthy and diseased tissue in cancer patients and to the ability to identify tiny pieces of shrapnel and other invasive materials, too small to be detected by X-rays, in those who have suffered combat injuries.

Jacqueline Stafsudd is the former director of information technology at HRL Laboratories. She met her future husband while working toward the bachelor’s degree she earned in 1969.

“The Stafsudds’ longstanding connections to UCLA Engineering have greatly benefited both the school and the family,” said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of UCLA Engineering. “We are fortunate that Oscar and Jacquie have decided to make this remarkable gift to ensure that the school maintains and improves upon its excellence in engineering education and research.”

The gift will be retained in perpetuity, and per the Stafsudds’ request, the investment income it generates will be spent according to the priorities of the chair of the school’s electrical engineering department. Oscar Stafsudd said he’d like to see the gift used to support undergraduate research and scholarships.

“Finding the money to support those activities has always been a challenge,” Stafsudd said. “This isn’t the glory stuff. But it really helps the department, the chair and the students.”

Image: Jacqueline and Oscar Stafsudd Jr.

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