Beverly Hills billionaires give UC Davis $50 million to build agricultural research hub
2:42 PM, Dec 26, 2013
Beverly Hills billionaires Rick Singer and Michael Milken have given $50 million to UC Davis to help launch a center for agriculture research.
Singer and Milken told Davis officials that they would open the center in the fall of 2015, after the start of the 2014 U.S. crop season.
The gift came as another round of cuts was announced by Davis officials, which include cutting the headcount by a third.
UC Davis has long been known as “The University of the Farm” — the hub of agricultural research and development. Last week’s news of another round of budget cuts may now take some of that moniker away from Davis.
“UC Davis is a national leader in agricultural and food technology research and education,” said Dr. Charles Gorman, chair of the UC Davis Academic Senate.
At the same time, he said, the cuts would “have a negative impact on students, researchers, and alumni.”
The $50 million investment by the two men on land near Davis will help the school build a center in the fall of 2015 for agriculture and food research. The center will be a partnership between the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UC Davis Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences and Pathology.
“This center will help the university advance the state of California’s agriculture,” Singer said in a statement to The Times on Monday.
Milken’s investment was made in 2009 at a time when public opinion was strongly opposed to farm subsidies.
The UC Davis Farm Bill, which provided $40 million in funding for new agricultural research at the time, is up for renewal this spring. That leaves another round of budget cuts looming on the horizon.
“In the short term we’re going to