March 31, 2005

School receives $30 million gift and new name: The Paul Merage School of Business

Paul Merage UC Irvine's Graduate School of Management has received a $30 million gift from philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul Merage - the largest single gift ever received by the university.

The gift will support the creation of endowed chairs that will facilitate the school's ongoing recruitment of top faculty; provide fellowships to support the recruitment and retention of top graduate students from around the country; and initiate innovative research centered around business growth. In recognition of the gift, the Graduate School of Management will be renamed The Paul Merage School of Business.

"This is an extraordinary gift and we cannot express deeply enough our appreciation for Paul Merage's great generosity," said Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone. "He has been a steadfast friend and steward of the campus. His commitment to our growth and vision is unwavering, and his gift to the Graduate School of Management is the strongest possible demonstration of this support."

"UC Irvine already has an excellent business school, with tremendous faculty and outstanding students," Merage said. "It is also still a young school and as such is not bound by all the traditions that prevent business schools from creating and embracing new ways of thinking. The Paul Merage School of Business will continue to grow and foster a learning culture premised on business innovation."

Dean Andrew Policano said the gift will help the Paul Merage School of Business gain top 25 status.

"These financial resources are critical to our future emergence among the truly distinguished schools in the country," Policano said. "Equally important is the commitment and passion of Paul Merage. Highly successful in his business career and highly respected in the community, Paul brings a unique expertise and insights into cutting-edge business practices that will help us develop a visionary strategy."

Merage is a member of The UCI Foundation and of the Graduate School of Management's Board of Directors. He is involved in several philanthropic endeavors, including his Merage Institute Fellows Program, a national program dedicated to expanding education and career opportunities for immigrants.

Merage was the principal founder of Chef America, which - under his leadership - enjoyed a successful growth strategy through expansion of its product lines. In the early 1980s, he created and introduced BELGIAN CHEF brand waffles to restaurants and HOT POCKETS brand sandwiches to convenience and grocery stores. In 2002, he sold Chef America to Nestle in order to focus on his philanthropic interests.

Founded in 1968, the Graduate School of Management is consistently ranked among the best business schools in the country by the U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.

The gift to the university comes only one year after what is now the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences received a $20 million gift from Orange County business leader and philanthropist Donald Bren.

Source: UCI GSM

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