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UCLA gets another $100-million donation; Kerkorian foundation transferred to school's control

February 14, 2011 | 11:06 am

Krek A foundation established by billionaire investor and Las Vegas casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian is giving UCLA about $100 million for medical research and other projects and will allow the university to administer an additional $100 million for other charitable causes around the country, officials announced Monday.

The gift comes less than three weeks after the Westwood campus received a $100-million gift from Meyer Luskin, a UCLA alumnus who made a fortune in the animal-feed business. The Luskin donation is being split between UCLA’s school of public affairs and the construction of an on-campus conference center and hotel.

Under the Kerkorian gift announced Monday, the $200-million assets of the Lincy Foundation will be transferred to a new organization called the Dream Fund that will be run by UCLA. The Westwood campus will be able to use about half that amount for its own research and student support.

Kerkorkian, a prominent Armenian American, originally founded the Lincy Foundation (named after his daughters Linda and Tracy) to aid victims of the devastating 1989 earthquake in Armenia. Since then, it has broadened its focus to benefit education and scientific efforts around the world, in addition to aiding Armenian and Armenian-American charities.

“The UCLA Foundation and the entire UCLA community are grateful for a magnificent act of support by a private foundation,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement issued Monday morning. Referring to the Luskin gift as well, Block said the Lincy Foundation transfer “is yet another testament to our community’s enduring belief in UCLA’s important role as an engine for the public good.”

Kerkorian is the main stockholder of MGM-Mirage Resorts and Casinos, including the MGM Grand Resort, the Mirage and the Bellagio properties in Las Vegas. Kerkorian previously was a major figure in Hollywood with his former ownership of MGM Studios and United Artists. The gifts from Kerkorian and the one last month from Luskin and his wife, Renee, are tied as the second-largest-ever to UCLA. They are topped only by entertainment industry mogul David Geffen's $200-million donation to UCLA's medical school in 2002.

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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: Kirk Kerkorian in 2005. Credit: Joe Cavaretta / Associated Press

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