Centennial Campaign for UCLA

Renowned scientist Paul Terasaki gives an additional $1 million to UCLA Japanese studies center

The latest gift brings to more than $6 million his total contributions to the Terasaki Center’s program endowment

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Paul Teraskai Chancellors Reception
Reed Hutchinson/UCLA

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block (left) and Professor Emeritus Paul I. Terasaki at the 20th anniversary celebration of the UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies in 2012.

Renowned scientist Paul Ichiro Terasaki, professor emeritus of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and longtime UCLA benefactor, has given an additional $1 million to the UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies.

The latest gift brings to more than $6 million Terasaki’s total contributions to the center’s program endowment. “The program endowment provides necessary resources to the director to operate and build a leading center,” Terasaki said. “Funding from the endowment will be used to promote new initiatives, especially those like the Global Japan Program, that focus on community engagement.”

Speaking on behalf of himself and his wife Hisako, Terasaki added, “It gives us great satisfaction to know that we are playing a vital role in advancing the UCLA mission of research, education and public service.”

“UCLA is overwhelmed by the generosity of this one man, Paul Terasaki, one of the university’s most accomplished graduates and faculty members,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “He has not only helped UCLA build one of the country’s leading centers for the study of Japan, he has made great contributions to science at the university by underwriting the construction of our new Terasaki Life Sciences Building and endowing a professorship in surgery at the Geffen School of Medicine.”

“I am honored that Dr. Terasaki has made this very generous gift to the center as it approaches its 25th anniversary in 2016–17. The gift will significantly strengthen the Terasaki Center’s programming capacity over the long term,” said Hitoshi Abe, director of the center and chair of the department of architecture and urban design at UCLA.

Among the new initiatives to be supported by the program endowment is the Global Japan Program, which will serve as a platform to train the next generation of Japanese leaders. Designed for both public and private professionals, the program focuses on issues of diversity and will offer its first certificate training workshop, “Learning from Disability,” at UCLA from July 24 through July 31, 2015.

The new gift will also help sustain the Terasaki Center’s Annual Global Japan Forum, an ongoing examination of Japan in a global context. The 2015 forum was recently held in mid-May and examined the spread of Japanese culture outside of Japan.

Terasaki earned three degrees at UCLA (BA, MA, and PhD) and was the first scientist in the world to devise a tissue-typing method that could assess the compatibility of organ donors and recipients. He established a company, One Lambda, in 1984 with eight former graduate students that has played a central role in the development and advancement of tissue typing. Terasaki was awarded the UCLA Medal — the university’s highest honor — in June 2012.

His earlier gifts to the center include $1 million for an endowed chair in U.S.-Japan relations in 1997 and $4 million in 2005. The latter gift resulted in the center’s renaming in honor of Terasaki and his wife, who is a printmaking artist. In 2013, he underwrote the center’s first Global Japan Initiative with an additional gift of $322,500; the initiative forged a network of Japanese Studies programs worldwide.

Terasaki’s gift is part of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, a $4.2 billion fundraising drive scheduled to conclude in 2019, the university’s 100th anniversary.

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