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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

University of California, Irvine receives $1.8 million donation from estate of Sylvia H. Robb

Gift from longtime campus supporter will benefit UC Irvine Libraries and School of Medicine

Irvine, Calif., March 7, 2007

The University of California, Irvine has received a gift from the estate of Sylvia H. Robb. The $1.8 million donation will be divided equally between the School of Medicine and the UC Irvine Libraries.

Robb, who died last year at the age of 97, was an avid campus supporter who donated gifts to UC Irvine across a number of areas for more than two decades.

The School of Medicine Dean’s Discretionary Fund will receive $928,000, which can be used for meeting a wide range of needs within the school, based on the dean’s funding priorities. The gift can support supplementary activities and programs that advance, enhance and expand the mission of the medical school. 

“The extremely generous gift from the Sylvia Robb estate will permit the dean’s office to fund a variety of unexpected, important opportunities that require matching funding,” said Dr. David N. Bailey, the university’s new vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Thus this gift will be leveraged, and its effect will be multiplied. I am absolutely delighted to receive this gift during my very first week at UC Irvine, and I thank the Robb estate.”

The $928,000 portion of the gift to the libraries establishes the Sylvia Holden Robb Library Endowed Fund, which will provide permanent support to maintain and enhance the excellence of the libraries’ collections, services and facilities. Robb was a dedicated and generous supporter of the libraries for more than 20 years. Her many gifts to the libraries include the naming of the Graduate and Faculty Reading Room in Langson Library and the establishment of the Sylvia Holden Robb Library Collections Endowed Fund.

“We appreciate Sylvia’s gifts, which have created a permanent legacy of her remarkable generosity,” said University Librarian Gerry Munoff. “Sylvia valued learning and appreciated the essential role the libraries play in research and education. Her gifts will ensure the continuing excellence of the libraries.”

Robb acquired her love of libraries as a child, when she would frequently visit her local public library. After finishing high school, she attended the Gary Business College and later moved to Chicago to work for the magazine of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.

Robb married Roger Holden in 1936. The couple lived in Chicago, where she worked with the advertising firm J. Walter Thompson. They subsequently moved to Colorado Springs and then to California, settling in San Clemente. Robb became active as a volunteer in a local hospital. Holden died in 1968, and in 1970 she married Dr. Robert Robb, a physician. After he died in 1992, she continued to pursue her love of reading and her support of a wide variety of charitable organizations.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UC Irvine is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,800 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UC Irvine contributes an annual economic impact of $3.7 billion. For more UC Irvine news, visit

Television: UC Irvine has a broadcast studio available for live or taped interviews. For more information, visit

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Sylvia H. Robb Sylvia H. Robb

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