Chancellor and Husband's Historic Gift to Student Support Inspires Rodondis
UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, and her husband, Nicholas Hellmann, MD, recently made an extraordinary gift to the campus: $1 million for professional student scholarships to be divided four ways between the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy.
Each of the schools will receive $250,000 upon securing a matching gift of $250,000, creating the first Chancellor’s Endowed Scholarships at UCSF. Husband-and-wife alumni Kevin Rodondi, PharmD '85, and Lisa Rodondi, PharmD '84, jumped in to make the match for the School of Pharmacy because of their ongoing commitment to the school and their passion for education.
"I’m really grateful that I was able to attend UCSF," says Lisa. "The combination of my education and my mentors really allowed me to get any job I wanted. Not that I didn’t work hard, but I give a lot of credit to UCSF and the friends and community I gained there. I believe in the power of education."
The Rodondis gift will support students who are in financial need, demonstrate leadership and show commitment to community service.
The largest donation ever to be received from a past or present UCSF chancellor was motivated by the campus's new educational fundraising priority.
"I have a particular fondness for UCSF's educational mission because that’s what brought me here in the first place," says Desmond-Hellmann, who came to UCSF as an intern in 1982. "I knew that I had landed at just the place I wanted to be: one committed to training the very best health care providers and researchers, but doing it in an amazingly warm and nurturing environment."
She continues, "I've seen a lot of academic institutions since then, but I’ve never seen another training environment that matched the one I found here. I am determined to do what I can to preserve that special culture and, in some key ways, make it even better."
Nick Hellmann, who met his wife while they were both residents at UCSF, says, "We want to help UCSF continue its leadership and excellence in professional education, and inspire other alumni and friends to support our students."
That was a motivation for the Rodondis gift, as well. "I think it's very important that we as pharmacists and alumni step up our level of giving to help support the future practitioners and leaders," says Kevin. "I just hope it catches on."
The generosity of these four alumni will make a significant difference as the California state budget cuts catapult tuition and fees, says Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD ’69, dean of the School of Pharmacy. Tuition and fees for California residents have risen 10 percent to $33,285 in 2011. "Lisa and Kevin, Sue and Nick are spectacular examples of the power of alumni giving. They are people who lead by example. They care deeply about ensuring that our students continue to have access to leading educations, and they've acted boldly to make that happen."