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Fiat Luskin: New Award Recognizes Alumni Couple's Contributions


By Alison Hewitt and Margaret MacDonald

Published Jul 1, 2012 8:00 PM

Meyer '49 and Renee '53 Luskin receive the first Fiat Lux Award.


At UCLA's inaugural Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership on May 2, Chancellor Gene Block presented the university's first Fiat Lux Award to Meyer '49 and Renee '53 Luskin, the philanthropic couple who created the new speaker series.

"I am pleased to present the first-ever Fiat Lux Award to two people who have been great and generous friends to UCLA for a very long time," Block said. The new award recognizes individuals or organizations that have rendered distinguished or extraordinary service to UCLA. The Luskins, both UCLA graduates, are longtime supporters of many campus programs.

In 2011, the Luskins donated $100 million to the campus, the second-largest gift ever received by UCLA. Their gift supported the Luskin School of Public Affairs, which was renamed in their honor, and will also enable UCLA to build a conference and guest center on campus. In addition, a portion of their gift established an endowment in the UCLA College of Letters and Science that includes the annual Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership. The series' inaugural event on May 2 featured a speech by former President Bill Clinton at Royce Hall that drew an audience of 1,800 students and members of the public.

"The multidisciplinary education I received at UCLA has helped me immeasurably in business, whether it's organizational, management or philosophical issues," says Luskin. "The Luskin Lecture is a way for us to give back in a creative and unique way that helps UC LA to continue its important work with the broader community."

"This pivotal endowment is of immense importance to College faculty," adds Judith L. Smith, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education. "It enables resource-challenged academic departments and research centers, in particular those in the humanities and social sciences, to organize and stage academic conferences. This funding helps broaden and strengthen not only our faculty's collaboration with other top scholars in their fields, but also their engagement with civic leaders and the general public on many issues."

A certificate accompanying the Fiat Lux Award read: "Presented to Meyer and Renee Luskin, with profound gratitude for your enduring commitment to fueling new discovery and knowledge at UCLA. Your exemplary leadership to ensure a more sustainable, healthy and just society is an inspiration to our campus and community."