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Blazing a Trail for Future Bruins

Archival photo of students studying in Powell Library
UCLA emeritus professors Sidney and Clara Szego Roberts leave $10.5 million for undergraduate scholarships, opening even more opportunities to advance excellence at UCLA.

In the late 1940s, many saw the West Coast as a scientific desert compared to the East, home to Harvard and Yale. But Sidney and Clara Szego Roberts felt otherwise as they drove across the country to UCLA. “It was a wide open place and had a lot of opportunities,” said Sidney Roberts, who recalled helping launch the medical school and Brain Research Institute in an oral history kept at UCLA.

Leaving a Legacy for Students

Campus has changed over the years, and even more opportunities abound — especially after the late professors emeriti left $10.5 million for undergraduate scholarships at UCLA, where they taught and researched for more than three decades. They knew the importance of student support, benefiting from scholarships in their college days before establishing careers in endocrinology.

“I’ve been a lifelong student,” said Szego Roberts in her own oral history, “and I’m a passionate believer in respecting the determined student, the one who really wants to participate.”

From Science to the Arts

The couple’s generosity will enable those students to pursue their passions in science or art. The combination is striking but perhaps not surprising: The two were true Renaissance scholars, enjoying drawing, painting, writing, and music alongside their vocations as scientists.

These interests are reflected in their other bequests to UCLA: $1.5 million to endow a chair in molecular and cellular endocrinology at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a Sohmer grand piano that will support The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s community outreach.

Partners in life, learning, and legacy, the Robertses have opened even more opportunities to advance excellence at UCLA.

Published September 2019

More Stories: Students, Arts & culture, David Geffen School of Medicine / Health Sciences, Herb Alpert School of Music, Science & technology, Students & campus