UC Santa Cruz Receives $1 Million for Lick Observatory Director's Fund

UC Santa Cruz Receives $1 Million for Lick Observatory Director's Fund

The University of California, Santa Cruz has announced a $1 million gift to establish an endowment for the director's position at Lick Observatory.

The gift from a granddaughter of William Wallace Campbell, who served as the observatory's third director (1901-1930), will establish the William Wallace Campbell Director's Fund in support of the director's priorities. Founded in 1888 and located on the summit of Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range east of San Jose, the observatory is operated by the University of California Observatories (UCO), a multi-campus research unit headquartered at UC Santa Cruz. 

Campbell, who joined the observatory's full-time staff in 1891, was a pioneer of astronomical spectroscopy and spent decades measuring the radial velocities of stars to establish the spatial drift of the solar system. Among his many achievements, Campbell led a 1922 expedition to Australia to capture images during a solar eclipse that were used as final confirmation of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity and served as president of the University of California from 1923 to 1930 and as president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1931 to 1935.

"William Wallace Campbell was an extraordinary man, and it's a deep honor to receive this gift in his name," said UCO director Claire Max, the Bachmann Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. "Lick Observatory would not be the vibrant scientific facility it is today without the ongoing donor support of our community."

(Photo credit: University of California, Santa Cruz)