Foundation capital

$2 million from the Pritzker Foundation creates a chair in sustainability at UCLA Samueli

IOs Angeles philanthropists Tony and Jeanne Pritzker have pledged $2 million to the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering through their charitable foundation. The funds will create the Pritzker Chair in Sustainability and support the Faculty Excellence Fund, designed to attract and retain outstanding engineering faculty.

Gaurav Sant, director of the Institute for Carbon Management at UCLA, has been named the Pritzker Professor of Sustainability.

Gaurav Santdirector of the Institute for Carbon Management at UCLA and professor of civil and environmental engineering, was named UCLA’s first Pritzker Professor of Sustainability.

“UCLA has long been a leader in sustainability,” said Tony Pritzker, president of the Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation and Chairman and CEO of Pritzker Private Capital. “We hope that the endowed chair at UCLA Engineering will support continued growth and innovation in the field of sustainability so that we can preserve the quality of air, water and other natural resources vital to the world. well-being of our future generations.

The Pritzkers are longtime supporters of UCLA and have given more than $100 million to the campus. Their support for environment-related research and programs extends to the UCLA Institute for Environment and Sustainability, including the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award; UCLA Law School; the Congo Basin Institute and UCLA LA Sustainable Grand Challengea campus-wide initiative designed to help transform Los Angeles into the world’s most sustainable megacity by 2050. With Pritzkers’ support of the Grand Challenge initiative, eight UCLA engineering professors received awards to support research on improving ecosystem and human health.

In 2017, the Pritzker Foundation donated $1.5 million to support the UCLA CarbonBuilt team, which developed new technology that turns carbon dioxide into concrete. Led by Sant, who also holds a materials science and engineering appointment, the team won the grand prize of $7.5 million in the COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition in April 2021, making UCLA the first university to win an XPRIZE.

“We are extremely grateful to Tony and Jeanne for their generous support of our school,” said Jayathi Murthy, Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of UCLA Samueli. “Their vision and stewardship will help pave the way for groundbreaking research to improve the environment and humanity.”

“We are extremely grateful to Tony and Jeanne for their generous support of our school,” said Jayathi Murthy.

Since 2018, Sant has led the Institute for Carbon Management’s interdisciplinary teams, which create sustainable solutions for carbon removal. The institute’s current projects include SeaChange, an energy-efficient technology that removes dissolved carbon dioxide from seawater; x/44, a method for performing direct electrochemical air capture; and EPOCH, an electrochemical process for producing portlandite – a limestone and cement substitute – designed to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with cement and concrete production. Technologies developed at the institute are commercialized by UCLA startups, including CarbonBuilt, Concrete-AI, and SeaChange.

“Gaurav Sant has been instrumental in the research and development of innovative carbon management technologies at UCLA,” Murthy said. “I am confident that as Pritzker Professor of Sustainability, he will continue to lead the Institute for Carbon Management in promoting sustainable, market-ready green technology solutions to combat climate change.”

Tony Pritzker served as co-chair of UCLA’s Centennial Campaign, which ended in 2019, raise $5.49 billion. He has served on numerous campus boards and is currently a member of UCLA’s Second Century Council, an advisory board to Chancellor Gene Block.