Ann E. Pitzer Study Abroad Endowment Challenge

New $1 Million endowment for study abroad

Generations of UC Davis students will have more opportunity to study abroad as part of their UC Davis education, thanks to a recent $1 million gift from Ann E. Pitzer, a UC Davis alumna ‘58 and current member of the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees. Access to global education is one of the key components of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s Vision of Excellence and 2020 Initiative for the university. Currently, only 17 to 18 percent of each UC Davis graduating undergraduate class will have studied abroad at some time during their academic career. "Financial resources are the No. 1 barrier to students taking advantage of UC Davis’ study abroad program," said Katehi.

The Pitzer endowment is good news to UC Davis students who have studied abroad with financial support such as Bryan, Katie and Bianca. Ann Pitzer’s gift will help create between 20-40 scholarships annually and has already inspired others to give to the UC Davis Study Abroad Endowment, including the donors highlighted below.

Ann Pitzer ‘58

"I think that students can be ambassadors for the state and the country and the campus. This endowment will provide an enriching opportunity for their lives. UC Davis made a tremendous change for the positive in my life, and I like to think that I have an opportunity to help students of today have a similar experience."

Bryan Steele, Student, International Relations

"Since I am an international relations major, study abroad wasn’t just a highlight of my collegiate experience, but a capstone on the hundreds of articles, books and essays that I read while at UC Davis."

Masoud and Nahid Sobhani, Parents, with son BK, Student, Communication

Iranian parents, now residing in Japan, have given $25,000 to the endowment. Their son, B.K., is a communication major currently in his senior year.

Joseph Silva, dean emeritus, School of Medicine and Ruth Silva

Joseph and Ruth Silva have given $25,000 to the endowment. "It's important to fund study abroad programs because our students serve as ambassadors of the university and bring a new perspective to their program."

Katie Marker, Student, Biological Sciences

"I have known since I was in the 6th grade that I wanted to study abroad...I started planning to go abroad in high school and a main reason I chose UC Davis was because of all the study abroad options that are offered here. Studying abroad in Spain was honestly the best experience of my life and I learned so much about the world and myself. Being in a completely different culture forced me to grow and adapt in ways I could have never done in the U.S."

Ruth Asmundson, Ph.D. ’72 and family

The Asmundson extended family, which includes several UC Davis alumni, have jointly given $25,000 to the endowment. Through the UC Davis Foundation's matching fund initiative, their donation will be matched at $25,000, for a total of $50,000 donated to the endowment.

Bianca Johnson, Student, History

"Prior to this past summer, I didn’t have a passport and I had only been on a plane a handful of times. My studies in history had brought me all over the world through books but I knew going abroad would be beneficial for both my personal and academic growth. Choosing to attend community college was a financial decision. The decision to go abroad was easy, the experience was difficult at times but extremely rewarding; limitations on my world and my own capability have been shattered."

Anyone who is inspired to meet the Ann E. Pitzer Study Abroad Endowment Challenge is invited to contact Robert Kerr ( or donate at The Ann E. Pitzer Study Abroad Endowment is part of The Campaign for UC Davis, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign that seeks to raise $1 billion from 100,000 donors.