Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman and UC Santa Barbara donor Charles Munger died Tuesday, Nov. 28 at age 99. His passing follows the dissolution of the long-planned Munger Hall housing project this past summer. 

Munger designed Munger Hall, a nine-story dormitory plan that sparked controversy due to its window-less design, and he was expected to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the project. 

UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang expressed his condolences for Munger’s passing. 

“My wife, Dilling, and I are deeply saddened by the loss of legendary philanthropist and internationally respected businessman Charlie Munger, who was a creative thinker and a generous supporter of universities, including our UC Santa Barbara campus,” he said in an email statement to the Nexus. 

“We are profoundly grateful for his friendship these many years, his immense generosity, his passion, and his energy, which he brought to so many initiatives for the benefit of our campus to enhance research and learning.”

Munger gifted over $125 million to the university in the effort to build Munger Hall. He also continued t0 donate $500,000 annual gifts to UCSB and fronted the university operations of the Munger Hall mock-up in a Goleta warehouse. 

Munger’s death comes three months after the university scrapping the building plans for Munger Hall in August 2023, issuing a “request for qualifications” for architectural firms to design a new student housing project. However, UCSB Spokesperson Kiki Reyes said the university continued to keep in communication with Munger until his death. 

“Mr. Munger has been a long-term supporter of our campus, and we have ongoing conversations with him,” she said. 

Reyes confirmed the progress in this new project in a Nov. 14 email to the Nexus. 

“The campus is moving forward with a separate student housing project in order to meet our [Long Range Development Plan] targets of 3,500 additional beds,” she said in the statement. 

The committee in charge will design the project on campus sites identified in the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) — a contract between UCSB and Goleta to cap student enrollment until 2025 as well as build additional dormitories and units for faculty and staff. The committee consists of faculty members, housing and dining staff, administrators and architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill of Los Angeles. 

“The new residences will include dining facilities and common area amenities and will address pedestrian/vehicular circulation,” Reyes said in the email statement. 

In consultation with Yang and the Academic Senate, the Building Committee has been appointed to help oversee the planning phase of the project, which is now underway. The committee will help guide the work of the architects, ensuring that all objectives are met and that the project remains on budget and on time.

Upon completion of the planning phase, UCSB looks to seek approval from the UC Board of Regents to expedite the construction to meet the LRDP contract. 

 “The campus has already completed extensive work including site and environmental studies at the proposed locations, which will help accelerate the planning phase,” Reyes said. 

Speaking to progress in housing goals, Reyes said there are approximately 250 open beds this fall in campus housing and the department has begun converting some triple-occupancy units to double-occupancy.  

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Nov 30, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.

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Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Co Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2022-23 school year and the 2021-22 school year and an Assistant News Editor during the 2020-21 school year. They can be reached at asumishuda@dailynexus.com or news@dailynexus.com.