February 19, 2019

Investiture is a formal ceremony designed to publicly recognize both faculty members who are appointed to named professorships and the generous donors who made these appointments possible. Recently, we had the opportunity to celebrate our co-founder for her inaugural appointment to a named chair supporting pediatric cancer genomics, endowed by Santa Cruz residents Bud and Rebecca Colligan.

Olena Morozova Vaske, assistant professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz, was honored as the first holder of the Colligan Presidential Chair in Pediatric Genomics in an investiture ceremony on Tuesday, February 19, at the University Center.

Chancellor George Blumenthal said at the ceremony that when he began at UC Santa Cruz, there were just four professorships. With the Colligan Chair, UC Santa Cruz can now count 40 chairs, a sign of the growth and maturity of the campus community.

The Colligan Chair will provide important support for Vaske’s ongoing work with the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative. The gift has supported a new lab in the MCD Biology Department at UC Santa Cruz, where Vaske will be studying the genes identified in the Treehouse analyses to better understand their roles in pediatric cancer. This “wet lab” research will complement the data analysis currently performed by the Treehouse team and may yield valuable new biological insights into pediatric cancer.

Endowments are a precious resource, particularly for a young institution such as UC Santa Cruz. They can increase a campus’s ability to attract and retain distinguished academics and they also provide an opportunity for donors to significantly impact scientific research. We are thrilled to be able to celebrate this named chair and look forward to the research that will result from the Colligan’s generous gift.

Read more about the ceremony, the Colligans and Dr. Vaske’s research here.

Check out images from the event below!