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Spring 2002
Why I Give
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Their tough times would lay the framework for their future generosity.

"One year, even though I was working full-time, I had no money for school," he recalls. "So I went to the student-loan office and said, 'Look, I'm about to begin my third year and I don't have any money. I'd like to take a loan.'

"I'll never forget what they said: 'But how can we loan you money? You don't have any money. Your family has no money. So how can we loan you any money?' I said, my God, there's something wrong with this system."

He and Fran made a pledge: "We agreed that if we ever had any money we were going to give it so other students won't have to put up with what I did."

Mensh went on for his Ph.D. in psychology at Northwestern University, served a stint in the Navy during World War II and took a job teaching psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. He was recruited to UCLA's School of Medicine in 1958, where he headed the Division of Medical Psychology until 1986.

Following through on their pledge, the Menshes began to contribute to undergraduate student scholarships in the College of Letters and Science. They also funded an internship program at NPI and, when Mensh carved out a specialty as a gerontologist, became supporters of the UCLA Center on Aging.

When Frances died, Ivan established a memorial fund that supports two postdoctoral students at NPI who conduct neuropsychological patient evaluations at the Frances and Ivan Mensh Memorial Psychological Assessment Laboratory.

Mensh doesn't keep track of exactly how much he gives, nor does he feel the need to know all the students it goes to. But he enjoys their letters.

"They write very nice letters," he says. "They say things like, 'I couldn't go to a place like UCLA without your scholarship, without your support.' "

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