University News

Longtime volunteer and philanthropic leaders Bob and Marion Wilson receive UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor

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Todd Cheney/UCLA
Bob and Marion Wilson

UCLA has presented its highest honor, the UCLA Medal, to alumni and Rancho Santa Fe residents Marion and Bob Wilson for their leadership in philanthropy and volunteer service to their alma mater.

“Through decades of leadership, service and generosity, Bob and Marion Wilson have created a legacy at UCLA that will further the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service for generations,” Chancellor Albert Carnesale said. “We are deeply grateful to them for all the ways in which they have advanced UCLA and its work. The fact that they are both UCLA graduates makes me especially honored to present them with the UCLA Medal.”

Bob Wilson served as chairman of Campaign UCLA, which raised more than $3 billion. The 10-year campaign, which concluded on December 31, 2005, was the largest and most successful fund-raising endeavor in the history of higher education. Wilson also has chaired the UCLA Foundation and served on philanthropic and other UCLA committees for the College of Letters and Science, Intercollegiate Athletics, the Alumni Association, the School of Dentistry, and Venice Dental Clinic. He received the UCLA Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year Award in 2002.

Marion Wilson is past president of UCLA Women & Philanthropy and a member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Governors. She also has served on boards for the Alumni Association, the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, the David Geffen School of Medicine, and the UCLA Fund.

In addition, the Wilsons have personally endowed student fellowships and scholarships, funded a lounge for UCLA medical students, and made many other financial contributions to units across the campus. Wilson Plaza, at the base of the landmark Janss Steps, was named in their honor in 2000.

Marion Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in art from UCLA in 1950 and Bob Wilson, a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1953. Bob Wilson is an executive with Los Angeles–based companies — Duckett-Wilson Development Company and Duckett-Wilson Investment Company — that develop, own and manage shopping centers and other real estate projects in California, Colorado and Las Vegas. He also is a partner in a chain of nine Fish Market seafood restaurants, including three in the San Diego and Del Mar area. The couple has homes in Los Angeles and Rancho Santa Fe.

Carnesale presented the medal to the Wilsons on Friday during an event celebrating the success of Campaign UCLA. All five of the Wilsons’ sons were present.

Part of Friday’s celebration was a ceremony dedicating the new Court of Philanthropy in Wilson Plaza. The court features a sloped limestone wall engraved with the names of donors, including the Wilsons, who have given more than $1 million to UCLA since its founding. The wall pays permanent tribute to UCLA’s most generous donors in a prominent location.

On Saturday, donors participated in a series of campuswide presentations, tours and performances that enabled them to experience the positive effect of their support on UCLA’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

About UCLA

California’s largest university, UCLA enrolls approximately 38,000 students per year and offers degrees from the College of Letters and Science and 11 professional schools in dozens of varied disciplines. UCLA consistently ranks among the top five universities and colleges nationwide in total research-and-development spending, receiving more than $820 million a year in competitively awarded federal and state grants and contracts. For every $1 state taxpayers invest in UCLA, the university generates almost $9 in economic activity, resulting in an annual $6 billion economic impact on the Greater Los Angeles region. The university’s health care network treats 450,000 patients per year. UCLA employs more than 27,000 faculty and staff, has more than 350,000 living alumni, and has been home to five Nobel Prize recipients.

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