Robert Englekirk MS ’65, PhD ’70 and Natalie Englekirk have committed to a $500,000 gift, matched by the University of California Office of the President, to create the Englekirk Presidential Endowed Chair in Structural Engineering at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. The total donation to UCLA Engineering is $1 million.
The Englekirk Presidential Chair will support in perpetuity a five-year term chair for a faculty member who specializes in structural and earthquake engineering and is an accomplished researcher, teacher and mentor.
Robert Englekirk is a structural engineering expert recognized internationally for his innovative and constructible design of reinforced concrete. He is founder and chairman emeritus of the Los Angeles-based firm Englekirk, which has designed more than $100 billion worth of construction projects.
Englekirk designs include the Getty Center, the Kodak Theater and the rest of the Hollywood and Highland center, the U.S. District Courthouse in San Diego, and the 40-story Paramount residential building in San Francisco – the tallest precast concrete building in California.
“UCLA gave me the foundation for a long and rewarding engineering career,” Robert Englekirk said. “By establishing this chair, Natalie and I want to help ensure that UCLA remains a leader in seismic and structural engineering – fields that are vital to the health, safety and economic prosperity of communities all over the world.”
The gift is being matched dollar-for-dollar by UCOP through the Presidential Endowed Chair program. The program is designed to attract and retain distinguished faculty across disciplines by helping to fund new endowed chairs at all 10 University of California campuses. In 2014-15, UCLA gained seven new endowed chairs through partnerships with visionary donors.
“We are extremely grateful to Bob and Natalie Englekirk for their generous support, as well as to the UC Office of the President,” said Vijay K. Dhir, dean emeritus of UCLA Engineering. “Bob already has established an indelible legacy in his field. This chair will ensure that UCLA Engineering will develop more world-class talent, like Bob, in structural engineering.”
Englekirk has received numerous awards from the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers, among others, and in 2013 received the UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has served as an adjunct professor at UCLA and a lecturer at USC. He also has been an adjunct professor at UC San Diego, and in 2005 his family established the Robert and Natalie Englekirk Structural Engineering Center at UCSD.
Jonathan P. Stewart, chair of the UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, said, “UCLA has a long and proud tradition of leadership in earthquake engineering and structural engineering. The Englekirks’ generosity will support current and future generations of faculty and students as they seek to improve understanding of how structures respond to earthquakes and how engineers can design safer and more resilient structural systems.”
The Englekirk Presidential Chair brings the number of endowed chairs at UCLA Engineering to 28.