Making Scholarships a Reality by Giving Real Estate

Sandra Timmons '81 Says All Gifts Make a Difference

Sandra Timmons and Richard Sandstrom

Sandra Timmons and her husband, Richard Sandstrom

Like more than 60 percent of undergraduates at UC San Diego today, Sandra Timmons '81 came to UC San Diego on a scholarship. Despite this similarity, UC San Diego in the 1970s and early 1980s bore little resemblance to the vibrant campus it is today. According to Sandra, the young university's student support network was still evolving, and many students were isolated from the campus community with few resources available for those facing challenges.

For Sandra, the benefits outweighed the disadvantages. The liberal arts curriculum she encountered at Revelle College contributed to a broad education that gave her the opportunity to experience a wide variety of disciplines. And the active intramural sports program helped her build friendships with her softball, rugby, and soccer teammates that she maintains to this day. Her experiences—both positive and negative—motivated her to make things better for future generations of Tritons.

"When I came to UC San Diego, we didn't have a student center, and it was the very early days of the Women's Center," Sandra says. "There were protests, and we'd walk around campus, but it wasn't like there were a lot of student groups. That inspired me to help create those supports. I am so impressed with where the university is now."

After she and her husband, Richard Sandstrom '72, M.S. '76, Ph.D. '79, graduated, they supported the UC San Diego Library and Chancellor's Associates with small annual gifts but weren't the active supporters they are today. It wasn't until her husband's business took off that the couple was inspired to make a larger gift to student scholarships at Revelle College. That gift opened the door to more conversations with UC San Diego.

Today, Sandra and her husband are members of the Campaign for UC San Diego Cabinet. She is also a trustee on the UC San Diego Foundation Board where she chairs the donor engagement and stewardship committee and serves as chair of Chancellor's Associates.

Sandra's experiences as an undergraduate have made an indelible impact on her giving. She supports a variety of causes across campus and around the world that help young people succeed academically and in life. This manifests in ways both obvious and subtle—she is a vocal proponent of early education initiatives and research, including the EARLI study at UC San Diego to address the influence of music on reading and literacy, as well as programs that improve access to educational opportunities such as Chancellor's Associates scholarships.

And she hasn't backed away from making unusual gifts—after her mother moved out of a house Sandra owned with her husband, they didn't want to manage the property and so looked into selling it. They were disappointed that the net profit from the sale would have less of an impact than if they donated it, so they donated the property itself. This enabled them to make a larger contribution to UC San Diego, since the university could accept the full property value, rather than the value after taxes.

For Sandra and her husband, philanthropy is deeply personal. "I know scholarships are really important for students. My husband grew up in a single-parent household—his father died in the Korean War just before he was born—and he would not have been able to go to school without the military GI support he received. We understand that young people need help—not everyone can make it on their own."

Many people discuss their philanthropy in terms of what they can do for their children or their grandchildren, but Sandra's perspective is more broad-minded—she sees her giving today as part of her long-term legacy of philanthropy. Sandra wants her gifts to help students succeed through undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, as well as research that serves the greater good, to make a lasting difference—one she can see today, as well as establish her legacy far into the future.

"UC San Diego is an incredible organization to be part of," Sandra says. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with people who are as passionate and committed as she is. Sandra sees herself as an advocate—someone who can rekindle people's interest in UC San Diego and foster a lasting connection with the university. She wants others to see UC San Diego the way she does—as an upstart university that has made a significant difference in a short time. And to see giving as she does, too—as an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how big or small the gift.

You, too, can make a difference in the lives of future Tritons with a gift to UC San Diego. Simply contact us at (858) 534-2249 or to discuss your giving options.

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