In a special ceremony on May 6, 2016, UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block awarded lifelong friends of UCLA Carol and Jim Collins The UCLA Medal, the highest honor given to individuals in recognition of extraordinary achievements that illustrate the university's highest ideals. "Tonight we celebrate Carol and Jim's profound influence on our university," said Chancellor Block at the ceremony. "Their generosity goes hand-in-hand with their personal commitment to UCLA, and we deeply appreciate their many years of inspired and impactful support of UCLA and their personal involvement in furthering the mission of this great university."
For more than 50 years, Carol and Jim Collins have been actively involved with UCLA. As a child, Carol Collins attended the university's laboratory elementary school and Bruin football games with her father. The couple met while attending UCLA, and three of their four children also studied at the university. Jim Collins, who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at UCLA in 1950, opened a hamburger stand in 1952, which he built into an international food corporation. Partners in philanthropic endeavors, the Collinses made their first gift to UCLA in 1963 and have supported diverse areas across campus, such as medicine, athletics, business, the humanities and education. Through The Carol and James Collins Foundation, they also give opportunities to underserved youth and their families. They are honorary fellows of the UCLA College of Letters and Science as well as life members of the UCLA Alumni Association and UCLA Fund. Jim Collins currently serves on the executive committee for The Centennial Campaign for UCLA, and Carol Collins is a member of UCLA's Women & Philanthropy and previously served on its board.
In addition to the medal presentation, the gathering celebrated the couple's gifts that established two endowed chairs in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The evening included the formal induction of the inaugural chair holders: Dr. S. Thomas Carmichael (FEL '01), professor and vice chair for research and programs in the UCLA Department of Neurology and co-director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, as the Carol and James Collins Chair, and Dr. Brandon Koretz (RES '99, FEL '00), co-chief of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics and interim CEO of the UCLA Faculty Practice Group, as the Carol and James Collins Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine. Drs. Carmichael and Koretz and their families were in attendance to thank Carol and Jim Collins and honor their significant investment.
"Research is vital to advancing medicine, and we are grateful for Jim and Carol's ongoing support," Chancellor Block said. "These are important areas of medicine, and we can be certain that the Collinses' endowment of these chairs will produce medical advances that will help many in the future."
"Our family has a long and memorable history with UCLA, and it has been gratifying to see our contributions make a difference in people's lives," said Carol Collins. "Jim and I are honored to receive The UCLA Medal, and we thank you. We are also pleased to celebrate these incredible physicians and look forward to continuing our connection to the UCLA community."
For more information, contact Karen Colimore at: (310) 267-0496