California State University, Fullerton has announced a gift valued at $10 million from Nicholas and Lee Begovich in support of student and faculty research in the areas of gravitational-wave physics, engineering, and computer science.
The planned bequest of fifteen postwar European sports cars valued at $10 million includes $7 million for faculty and student gravitational-wave research in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, as well as the construction of a state-of-the-art laboratory and computational resource upgrades. The remaining $3 million will provide support for interdisciplinary research, new courses and electives, student projects, early-career faculty members, and research in sustainable energy and power at the College of Engineering and Computer Science. In recognition of the lead gift in a five-year, $200 million capital campaign, the university’s academic and research center will be renamed the Nicholas and Lee Begovich Center for Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy (GWPAC).
A retired engineering executive, Begovich began collecting foreign sports cars in the early 1950s and over the years has acquired Spanish Pegasos, French Talbot-Lagos, and Italian Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and DeTomaso Pantera coupes. A decade ago, the couple contributed $1 million to the university's Art Department in support of what is now the Nicholas and Lee Begovich Gallery.
"We are incredibly honored that Nick and Lee have chosen to invest in the future of gravitational-wave science at Cal State Fullerton," said Joshua Smith, professor of physics and the Dan Black Director of Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy. "Their gift will have a transformative impact on students through research, teaching and outreach. This incredible gift enables the renovation and expansion of the campus center and its capabilities, and also bolsters CSUF's role in advancing humanity’s exploration of the universe."