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NEWS + NOTES
friends UCLA Bestows Highest Honor
on Distinguished Philanthropists
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block recently awarded two friends
of the university and UCLA Health Sciences — James L. (Jim)
Easton and David Geffen — with the UCLA Medal in recognition
of their long-standing support and advocacy on behalf of
UCLA. The medal is the highest honor the university gives to
an individual for extraordinary achievement. It is conferred on
Top: (From left): UC Regent Sherry Lansing, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, entertainment
executive and philanthropist David Geffen and Dr. A. Eugene Washington, vice chancellor
of UCLA Health Sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for UCLA
Bottom: UCLA Medal-recipient James L. Easton (left) and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.
Photo: Todd Cheney/UCLA Photography
44 U MAGAZINE
those with exceptionally distinguished academic and professional
achievement whose bodies of work or contributions to society
illustrate the highest ideals of UCLA.
In honor of Easton’s (UCLA ’59) tireless devotion to his alma
mater, Chancellor Block presented Easton, a top manufacturer of
athletic equipment, with the UCLA Medal on May 8, 2014. Easton
received his BS degree in engineering from UCLA in 1959, and
for the last five decades he has made extraordinary contributions
to the university and the global community. In 2008, he made a
$10-million donation in honor of his mother, naming the Mary S.
Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA.
The UCLA Easton Center also includes the Jim Easton Consortium
for Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery and Biomarker Development, a
separate research program funded by Easton. In addition, he has
supported programs in athletics, management and technology.
The UCLA Medal citation presented to Easton states: “In addition to
philanthropic gifts, you have lent immeasurable hours of service and
strategic guidance, elevating UCLA’s ability to provide competitive
learning opportunities and hasten critical research in medicine.”
During the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Hippocratic Oath Ceremony on May 30, 2014, Chancellor Block
presented the UCLA Medal to Geffen, entertainment executive and
philanthropist. “David Geffen exemplifies the spirit of optimism
and innovation that is the hallmark of UCLA,” Chancellor Block
said. “By advocating for the arts, healthcare and human rights,
he has served as a powerful force for enhancing human welfare
and as an exemplary role model in the UCLA community.” In
2012, Geffen — a former regent of the University of California —
established the $100-million David Geffen Medical Scholarships,
which cover the entire cost of medical education for nearly 20
percent of entering students, enabling them to pursue their dreams
and graduate debt-free. In 2002, he made a landmark $200-million
unrestricted gift to UCLA’s medical school — at the time the largest
gift ever given to UCLA and to the University of California and the
largest single donation ever made to a United States medical school.
The funding helped propel the David Geffen School of Medicine at
UCLA to its current status as a world-class institution for education
and research. In 1995, he donated $10 million toward UCLA’s
Westwood Playhouse, which was renamed the Geffen Playhouse,
and he serves on its board of directors.