Jon and Denise Fan

JON ’02 AND DENISE ’02 FAN

For Jon Fan, being connected to UC Berkeley is all he’s ever known — he’s a lifelong resident of Berkeley and the son of two Cal alumni. His bond with the campus strengthened considerably when he enrolled as a student and met his wife, Denise, while playing together on their dorm’s intramural basketball team.

“We both regard Cal as a transformational experience in our lives,” says Jon, a product manager at a software company. “It played a big part in who we are today.”

These days, the Fans happily give back — across the campus — to the institution that gave them so much. “We’ve focused on areas that we relate to the most,” says Denise, the corporate controller of a restaurant group. “We donate to Cal volleyball because we love the sport and want to support the student-athletes in a sport that may not get as much funding as the major ones. Our engineering gifts are a nod to Jon’s studies. And we donate to scholarships because we understand what it’s like when financial means are a major obstacle to one’s pursuit of a quality education.”

Jon and Denise have a passion for supporting minority, low-income, and underrepresented students. “Cal provides us with a great opportunity to do just that,” says Jon. “The university plays a big part in our overall philanthropic priorities each year.”

Jim and Ruth Reynolds

JIM AND RUTH REYNOLDS

Though they aren’t Cal alumni or Bay Area natives, Jim and Ruth Reynolds have truly appreciated living in Berkeley ever since relocating from Seattle in the 1980s. At the heart of their love for the city is the university. “Berkeley is such a great place to call home,” says Jim, a retired executive who worked for Peet’s Coffee. “And UC Berkeley is a big part of that.”

In particular, Jim and Ruth treasure the campus’s many offerings in the arts — Ruth, in fact, is an artist herself — and as donors they devote much of their support to those areas of campus, including Cal Performances and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).  Jim also sits on the board of Cal Performances and previously served as a BAMPFA trustee. But it’s not just the arts that excite the couple about the university.

“When we talk to people about how good Cal is,” says Jim, “it’s not just the museum or the arts — it’s the excellence of the academics as well. I’ve always appreciated Cal’s role in keeping a lively intellectual atmosphere here in the Bay Area.”

Ruth adds, “Both of us are really enthusiastic about Cal. We love walking through the campus and taking in that feeling of excitement and intellectual ferment going on.”

HOCK S. LEE

HOCK S. LEE ’85

Throughout a long and varied career in fields ranging from software to real estate, Hock Lee has always maintained a passion for preserving the excellence of Berkeley. “Cal is number one in my overall philanthropic priorities,” says Hock, who studied computer science at Cal and lives in the Seattle area.

More than three decades ago, Hock graduated from Berkeley and landed his first job as a software engineer at Microsoft. Since then, his pride in his alma mater’s preeminence and belief in its public mission have never wavered. That’s why he recently made a significant pledge to establish the Fund for Faculty Excellence in the College of Letters & Science’s Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

“Berkeley has become a world-leading university without the outsized endowment that many leading institutions have,” says Hock. “The competition for faculty is fierce, and many cutting-edge research projects are expensive. We should do more to attract and keep them by narrowing the compensation and funding gap.”

Knowing firsthand the expense involved in staying ahead of the technology curve, Hock is happy to give back to the school that gave him so much. “Berkeley is world-class,” he says. “It excels in both instruction and research — and I want to help make sure it stays that way.”

DON GUTHRIE

DON GUTHRIE ’77

A former executive in the cellular telephone business, Don Guthrie recognizes the appeal of staying connected. That understanding informs his philanthropy, too — though he graduated from Cal in the 1970s, he’s remained connected to his alma mater through consistent generosity to the university.

He’s particularly loyal to the areas that enriched his time at Berkeley the most. Having earned dual degrees in economics and statistics, he supports those programs regularly — as well as the University Library, practically a second home to him during his time on campus.

“Berkeley is a place that had a key influence on my life and taught me many lessons,” Don says. “My hope is that, by supporting the university, it will continue to have a positive influence on future generations.”

Don feels an especially deep connection to Cal, in part, because his grandmother was also an alum. Don’s mother also graduated from a UC school, UCLA, doing so a year after he finished his studies at Berkeley.

With such a strong commitment to public education in the family — Don’s father taught statistics at Oregon State University and UCLA — it’s no wonder that he has remained connected to Cal. “The school is remarkable,” he says. “There’s no other label you can put on it.”

Peter Muñoz and Jane Leroe

PETER MUÑOZ ’68, M.A. ’70, J.D. ’75 AND JANE LEROE ’68, J.D. ’71

Peter Muñoz and Jane Leroe thrived as students at Cal, though their paths to Berkeley were quite different. Peter worked throughout his years in college, while Jane relied on family support to cover her education costs. Their success underscores their firm belief that the University should remain open to all deserving students regardless of their ability to pay — and has led to their lasting support of Cal scholarships offered through The Achievement Award Program (TAAP).

“I could afford to work my way through college,” says Peter, an attorney specializing in commercial real estate law. “You can’t do it now.”

The mission of TAAP, administered by the Cal Alumni Association, resonates with them. “Often, you’re helping the first person in their family go to college, and they’ve worked hard but can’t afford to pay tuition at even a state school,” says Jane. “It’s important for us to help them out.”

The couple also actively supports the Center on Civility and Democratic Engagement, funded in large part through gifts from the Class of 1968. For Peter and Jane, supporting the center isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s practically their birthright. “We’re children of the ’60s,” says Jane. “We want people to speak civilly to one another.”

They have also passed down their love of Cal to their three grown children, all Berkeley alumni. Like their parents, the Leroe-Muñoz children are active Cal donors and volunteers. “Cal is like a part of our family,” says Jane. “Not a day goes by where we don’t talk about it or even say ‘Go Bears!’ It’s amazing how woven it is into our lives.”