Robert “Bob” Wilson, who graduated from UCLA in 1953 with a degree in business administration and who dedicated much of his life to giving back to his alma mater, died Jan. 24, at the age of 93. He was surrounded by his family members and loved ones at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Wilson was an executive with Los Angeles–based companies — Duckett-Wilson Development Company and Duckett-Wilson Investment Company — which specialize in the development and management of shopping centers and other real estate projects in California, Colorado and Las Vegas. As a successful entrepreneur, Wilson used his expertise, humanity and philanthropy to improve the lives of many people locally, nationally and internationally. The UCLA family is among many grateful communities.

“Bob Wilson was a true Bruin a great friend to many across UCLA,” Chancellor Gene Block said. “It is Bob’s warmth, compassion and heart that we will remember most of all. He left an indelible mark on our campus community and his impact here will be felt for generations to come.”

In partnership with his wife, Marion, who graduated in 1950 from UCLA and who died in December 2020, Wilson’s generosity toward UCLA spanned five decades. He made his first gift to the university in 1968 in support of kidney transplant research and went on to lead UCLA’s first multi-billion dollar fundraising effort, Campaign UCLA, which concluded in 2005, generating more than $3 billion of philanthropic investments. He once again played a major role in the Centennial Campaign, which concluded in December 2019, and the Pauley Pavilion renovation, which concluded in 2012.

Throughout his life, Wilson shared his Bruin spirit and steady hand in nearly every corner of the campus, from athletics and dentistry to the UCLA College, the school of education and information studies, the health sciences and the UCLA Alumni Association. Notably, he conceived and chaired the “Four Deep” program to endow athletic scholarships for all positions on the UCLA Football team (he was a high school football player in Escondido, California, in the 1940s).

In the 1980s, armed with an early appreciation of the importance of oral health to overall health, Wilson spearheaded a fundraising drive that enabled construction of the Wilson-Jennings-Bloomfield UCLA Venice Dental Center. He faithfully supported the clinic for decades, later contributing to funding an expansion of the center, which provides low-cost dental care to underserved communities. The Wilsons’s gift to establish the Bob and Marion Wilson Endowed Scholarship Fund remains one of the largest scholarship donations the UCLA School of Dentistry has ever received.

In 2000, Wilson Plaza, situated between Kaufman Hall and the Student Activities Center, was named in recognition of the Wilsons’ philanthropic leadership. In 2006, UCLA presented its highest honor, the UCLA Medal, to Marion and Bob Wilson. At that time, Bob offered his thoughts on his commitment to UCLA, explaining, “Being an alumnus of UCLA carries with it the experience of a university whose effect on our community, nation and world is almost without precedent. It is for this reason that any act of involvement and giving offers a level of excitement and satisfaction that benefits both the university and those of us who are graduates.”

Beyond UCLA, Wilson gave to many worthy causes. Generous with his time, he served as a trustee of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, on the board of the American Medical Council on Child Abuse, and on many philanthropic and action committees in Los Angeles.

Bob and Marion were especially dedicated to Colonial Williamsburg for more than 30 years and, in 2002, the organization presented them with its most prestigious award, the Churchill Bell, first given to Winston Churchill in 1947. Additionally, Bob provided generous financial support to Palomar College, Palomar Mountain State Park, and many venues in his hometown, including his high school’s stadium, Escondido Boys and Girls Club Play Field, Escondido Charitable Foundation, Escondido History Center, and Escondido Alumni Cougar Athletic Club. The Escondido History Center named him an Escondido Forever Legend in 2019.

In 2018, following the devastating Camp fire in Paradise, California, Wilson generously provided $1 million to support more than 1,000 students, teachers and staff of Paradise High School. According to the Escondido Times-Advocate, Wilson said it was the most satisfying and heartwarming donation he ever made.