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CHASS Spotlights Philanthropy


By Stephanie Wejbe, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

The College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences has been fortunate to have friends whose philanthropic vision has dovetailed with the academic vision for the College. Patricia O’Brien, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences has articulated her vision for the College and has been fortunate to work with donors whose generosity and support has enabled the College to achieve some of those academic goals.

Tony and Frances Culver donated the leadership gift for the Barbara & Art Culver Center of the ArtsIncluded in these goals is the establishment of the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, an interactive arts space to be housed in the renovated Rouse Building in the historical core of downtown Riverside. Tony Culver, a longtime supporter of the Arts at UCR and in the community, had his own philanthropic goal of honoring his parents and supporting the arts, the revitalization of downtown, and UCR. Out of these two visions, the Culver Center was established by Tony’s leadership gift of $5,000,000. Tony’s widow, Frances Culver, continues to work with Pat O’Brien to find matching funds to make the Culver Center a reality.
Dean O'Brien, Mrs.Saini and her family, benefactors of the Jasbir Singh Saini Endowed Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies established in memory of her husbandAnother academic goal is the establishment of the Jasbir Singh Saini Endowed Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies. Pat O’Brien is committed to establishing a program of distinction that complements the program in Sikh Studies at UCSB and the Aurora Fellowship in Sikh Studies at the Humanities Research Institute, a University of California Humanities think-tank housed at UC Irvine. These programs together form the largest program in Sikh Studies outside the Punjab in India. The widow of Dr. Saini, a Phoenix-based cardiologist, made a leadership gift to establish UCR’s program in memory of her husband. Marilyn and Jack Sweeney, benefactors of Sweeney Art DayRecruiting the area’s most talented arts students is another vision for the College and showcasing UCR’s talented faculty and students in the Arts was the goal for Marilyn and Jack Sweeney. Over the last five years, Jack and Marilyn Sweeney have supported Sweeney Arts Days, an annual event that brings the most talented high school arts students to campus for one day to attend workshops in Art, Dance, Music, Theatre, Creative Writing, and to visit the Sweeney Arts Gallery, also named for the couple. This recruitment event continues to be wildly successful due to the Sweeney’s vision of bringing the arts into the lives of aspiring artists.
Dean O'Brien with Professor Henry Sheng, benefactor of the annual Vena Yin Sheng Piano CompetitionAnother artist, the pianist and member of the UCR Engineering faculty, Dr. Henry Sheng, had a vision to honor his mother Vena Yin Sheng. A poet and pianist, Mrs. Sheng’s legacy is kept alive with the annual “Vena Yin Sheng Piano Competition” in which UCR’s most talented pianists compete for a prize sponsored by Dr. Henry Sheng. Dean O'Brien, with Colonel and Mrs. Vincent Scarano, who established The Kristine M Scarano Memorial Scholarship in EnglishAnother memory kept alive in perpetuity is “The Kristine M. Scarano Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund in English” for English undergraduate and graduate students. Established by her parents, Col. and Mrs. Vincent Scarano, to honor their daughter and to assist students in the study of English.

Amy Smith, Assistant Dean for Development, is available to help facilitate your philanthropic vision. She can be reached at Amy.Smith@ucr.edu or 909-787-2443. For information on any aspect of charitable giving, please contact Amy Smith.


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