A former CEO has credited his time at University of California, Irvine as the basis for his recent generous monetary donation. Vincent Steckler, a former information and computer science and mathematics student, who graduated from UCI in 1980, said his experiences studying art history at UC Irvine inspired him and helped ignite his profound appreciation for art. In return, he has given back to his alma mater in the form of a $10.4 million donation.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for UCI, and I’m excited to leverage the funding match for the graduate fellowships because it offers such a high return on investment,” Steckler said.
Recently gifted to UC Irvine by the Steckler Charitable Fund, which was established by Steckler and his wife Amanda, the funds will be distributed through two $5 million donations that UC Irvine will use to support students within art history and computer sciences.
Approximately $5 million of Steckler’s donation will help establish the Center for Responsible, Ethical and Accessible Technology within the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences at UC Irvine.
In a statement, the former CEO of Avast Antivirus Software said he hopes his contributions to the university will give students the ability to become inspired, and give them the opportunity to change the world around them.
“I believe that the Center for Responsible, Ethical and Accessible Technologies could dramatically change some of the toxic tendencies within Silicon Valley. And if we change the way Silicon Valley operates, we can change the world,” Steckler said. “At the same time, art is a crucial part of the human experience. The art history courses I took at UCI made such an impression on me. What I learned ignited a lifelong passion for and appreciation of art that I’ve been able to share with my wife, Amanda, and our five children.”
The other portions, approximately $5.4 million, will go to toward mentoring the experiences of art history students. Additionally, 20 percent of Steckler’s latest donation has been designated for graduate fellowships, which will be matched for the first 10 years by the Graduate Division, according to UC Irvine.
“We are so grateful to Vincent and Amanda Steckler for their support of art history undergraduate and graduate students,” said Tyrus Miller, dean of UCI’s School of Humanities. “By offering them a variety of opportunities for paid internships and career path development, the Stecklers’ generous gift will make an indelible impact on the lives of students for generations to come.”