Beverly Hills billionaires give UC Davis $50 million to build agricultural research hub
As California’s UC Davis expands into the “food and biotech age,” it might just become the biggest university in the world to go in that direction.
With $50 million from a pair of Beverly Hills billionaires, UC Davis is one of 11 campuses nationwide that have won commitments from foundations for a $75 million “Agricultural Research University” focused on food and health sciences.
The $50 million is part of a $250 million seed investment by George Soros, who has endowed 11 schools (some in California) with his own money over the past six decades.
UC Davis has two programs now dedicated to health and agriculture, and another four programs tied to food and agriculture. It now seeks to double the number of programs and to launch its own satellite facility to expand the university’s research effort on food and health.
The new, 10,000-square-foot facility, the first “campus green building” in the U.S., will include research laboratories, student dorms, offices and other infrastructure. It will open in 2019 and be named the John A. Paulson Institute.
As for the $50 million in support, the billionaire philanthropists have not released the names of their donors, though the “Agricultural Research University” is the first of the new programs to come from such a partnership.
“It’s important that we invest in our future and, in this moment, as we move forward, that we invest in the future,” Chancellor Marye Kennedy said in an official announcement.
UC Davis is well known as the flagship campus of the “University of California,” a public research center and flagship university with 3,700 students, 700 faculty members, 50,000 alumni, and more than $5 billion in annual research expenditures.
The $5 billion research portfolio on campus includes 15 Nobel Prize winners and 20 Fields medalists.
The agriculture investment is not the first of many that the university has received in recent years.
The university has recently received two other seed investments, one from a major financial investor in California and another from billionaire Bill