Entrepreneur Richard A. Auhll has donated $500,000 to the UCSB Engineering Dept. to help in finding a permanent dean for the college.

The philanthropy has been established under the Richard A. Auhll Professor and Dean of Engineering endowment fund. According to a press release, Auhll’s contribution will be utilized to recruit a permanent Dean for the College of Engineering and will provide $100,000 for discretionary use by the dean to support unrestricted research opportunities.

To date, Auhll has donated more than a million dollars to UCSB.

Acting Dean of the College of Engineering Larry Coldren said this latest donation will attract a pool of highly qualified candidates for the position of permanent Dean.

“By raising the endowment to a million dollars, Auhll has allowed for a more substantial annual payout, a more attractive recruitment package for a new dean,” Coldren said. “This will attract the best and brightest in terms of faculty.”

According to Coldren, the discretionary funds are significant in that they allow the department to conduct research or allocate funds to programs without going through the oftentimes lengthy process of writing grants.

“When we provide discretionary funds to that individual, they have the ability to do whatever research or fund grad students, or travel to locations to conduct research on their own without having to write grants,” Coldren said. “It gives them power and flexibility.”

According to Greg Simon, a fourth-year electrical engineering major, the installment of a new permanent dean, in addition to the other benefits of Auhll’s donations, will greatly impact the students in the Engineering Dept.

“In this economic climate, donations are more important and appreciated now than ever before,” Simon said. “Having a permanent dean in the College of Engineering should really help facilitate the development of better programs and provide for an overall superior student experience.”

According to Coldren, Auhll is a frequent contributor to multiple funds at UCSB, to not only the College of Engineering, but also College of Letters and Science programs.

“His gifts have totaled much more than a million over the years,” Coldren said. “He is a good friend of UCSB.”