UCLA Philosophy Receives $25 Million Donation


The Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) received a gift of $25 million in honor of philosophy professor David Kaplan and Renée Kaplan, who was a clinical professor of psychology at UCLA.

$20 million will go directly to the Department of Philosophy, while $5 million will be used to start an eventual $15 million endowment to provide funding for graduate students in the humanities, according to a news item at the UCLA website. UCLA’s Humanities Building will be renamed Renée and David Kaplan Hall.

The gift is from the Kaplan’s son Jordan Kaplan, his wife, Christine, and Jordan’s business partner, Ken Panzer.

In a statement on its website, the Department of Philosophy states:

This gift will have a profound, positive impact on our ability to generate leading philosophical research and offer a world-class education in philosophy for undergraduates and graduate students alike. It will allow us to recruit and support the best students from around the country and the world, to provide substantial new support for faculty research, and to enrich our undergraduate curriculum. We also look forward to richer offerings of talks, colloquia, and conferences and to hosting a wide array of distinguished visitors throughout the year. We are very excited about these initiatives as well as other important endeavors in the Humanities Division that this gift will enable.

This is the one of the largest gifts made to a department of philosophy—to my knowledge, second only to the recent $75 million gift made to the Department of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University.

Other recent large donations to philosophy departments and related institutions and programs include: $15 million to the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, $5 million to create a chair in philosophy and public affairs at the University of St. Andrews, $3.75 million to the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, $3.6 million to Georgetown University for a chair in ethics and to fund its Ethics Lab, $2.9 million to the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, $2.2 million to the University of Miami for an endowed chair in atheism, humanism, and secular ethics, $1.8 million each to Orange Coast College and to the University of California, Berkeley, to provide scholarships for philosophy students,$1.5 million to endow a position in Catholic philosophy at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, $1.5 million for an endowed chair in philosophy at Rutgers University, $1.35 million to the University of Hawai’i for its philosophy in schools program, $1.23 million to the University of Minnesota Department of Philosophy, and $500,000 to the Department of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo.

You can read more about the gift to UCLA’s Department of Philosophy here.

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