Ann Pitzer ’58 is supporting the student experience at UC Davis.
“A great college experience.” That is what Pitzer said she received when she attended UC Davis in the late 1950s; and it’s what she hopes to support through her gifts to UC Davis.
“I wanted to give back because going to UC Davis made a big, positive difference in my life,” said Pitzer, who worked at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for 23 years before retiring in 2000. “The breadth of knowledge I received and the self-confidence I gained at UC Davis served me well in a number of career changes in my life.”
After graduating UC Davis with a bachelor's degree in home economics and obtaining a master's degree in textiles from UC Berkeley, Pitzer pursued a number of jobs including working with an agricultural extension in Kauai, Hawaii, managing an artist gift shop in Houston, Texas, and developing software in San Diego, Calif.
“I wanted to support students because there always seems to be deserving students who could use some help,” Pitzer said. “Plus, philanthropy and higher education were part of my upbringing, so it seemed like a natural thing to do.”
Pitzer’s grandfather was Russell K. Pitzer — a California citrus grower and Pomona Valley philanthropist who founded Pitzer College in 1963. Her father was Kenneth S. Pitzer — a renowned chemistry professor and Dean of the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and former president of Rice and Stanford universities.
As part of The Campaign for UC Davis, Ann Pitzer created an endowment to establish the Ann E. Pitzer Scholarship Fund, which provides support for students with financial need and demonstrated academic achievement. She is also the lead donor for the Class of ’58 Scholarship — an endowed fund supported through gifts from 1958 graduates, as well as friends of the class. Additionally, Pitzer gave a $1 million gift to UC Davis Education Abroad Center so that more UC Davis students will have the opportunity to add a global perspective to their academic careers.
“When I went to college, it gave me an opportunity to blossom on my own. I think that’s what a university experience should do for a student,” said Pitzer, who is a UC Davis Foundation trustee. “It should give them the opportunity to discover their talents and to grow into them. I think UC Davis is a wonderful place for a student to do just that.”