Special Friends

Kashian Commitment Will Support UC Merced Library

October 30, 2001
The University of California, Merced's recently named Kolligian Library also will honor one of Fresno's leading developers, according to an announcement by Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey.

The first floor of the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library, one of the first buildings to be constructed on the new campus, will be named for Ed and Jeanne Kashian in recognition of the leadership and support that the Kashians have directed to UC Merced. In addition, they are making a substantial contribution to support an endowment for the central library, named in honor of their lifelong friends and business partners, Leo Kolligian and his late wife, Dottie.

"The Kashian floor will be a vibrant and busy place where students and faculty will gather and where student activities will intermingle with study and research in the library," said Bruce Miller, UC Merced founding librarian.

The State of California's 2001-2002 budget allocates $162.4 million for the initial creation of infrastructure and the first three buildings at UC Merced, including $56.5 million for the library/information technology center. Also serving as an information technology center, the Kolligian Library will house an array of new and traditional information resources and services, computer laboratories, instructional technology support, multimedia services and library service instructional rooms.

"Ed and Jeanne Kashian have provided significant guidance and vision for our new campus, and we are inspired by their commitment," said Chancellor Tomlinson-Keasey. "The gift for the library also is a testament to friendship, because it is a gift based on the love and respect the Kashians have for the Kolligian family. Having UC Merced's main library permanently recognize the names of these two remarkable Fresno families is an honor for the University."

A founding member of the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees, Ed Kashian also serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the Real Estate Committee of the board.

"Jeanne and I are committed to doing our share to improve the quality of life in the San Joaquin Valley, and UC Merced will make tremendous contributions to that end," said Ed Kashian. "Most importantly, the new campus will broaden higher education opportunities for our Valley's students and economic opportunities for all Valley residents."

Beginning his career in real estate in 1958, Ed Kashian currently heads Lance-Kashian & Company, the Fresno-based firm he founded in 1964. Lance-Kashian specializes in commercial real estate development, asset management and property management. The firm has developed and manages more than three million square feet of commercial space. Among the properties developed and managed by the firm are the Marketplace and Shops at River Park, Fig Garden New Town Shopping Center and the Class A office buildings, Park View Plaza, Plaza del Rio, and the Village Courtyards East and West at River Park.

Ed Kashian was born to immigrant parents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and later moved to California with his family. He attended the University of Southern California until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy for four years. He is a Korean War veteran.

Among his numerous civic activities, Ed Kashian is chairman of the volunteer board of directors for Community Medical Systems, founder and longtime board member for the San Joaquin River Trust, a member of the Urban Land Institute, and was a two-term appointee to the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board. Most recently, California State University, Fresno presented him a Foundation Service Award to recognize his many years of service as a university supporter.

A native of the San Joaquin Valley, Jeanne Kashian was born and raised in Hanford. She graduated from CSU Fresno, where she studied to become a teacher. After teaching school for several years, she retired to raise the couple's children. The Kashians have four grown children, one of whom graduated from USC and three of whom graduated from UCLA, and two grandchildren.

The Gonella Discovery Room

November 22, 2004
MERCED, CA. --- Doris Gonella and her late husband Louis Gonella always believed in the value of education. When they heard that the University of California might establish a campus in the San Joaquin Valley, the Gonellas worked hard to make it happen.The Gonellas were quick to volunteer for the community campaign to locate the 10 th UC campus in Merced - the place they chose to raise their family and the community that supported the successful development of Gonella Realty, founded by the couple in 1974. For many years, a banner welcoming the new campus hung from the local Gonella offices as a public statement of their support.

As a tribute to her husband after he passed away in 2001, Doris Gonella created the Louis P. Gonella Memorial Scholarship at UC Merced. Now she has donated additional funds to create the Louis P. Gonella and Doris M. Gonella Discovery Room in the Kolligian Library.

"Lou worked tirelessly to bring the new UC campus to Merced because he so believed in higher education and what the University of California stands for," says Doris Gonella, whose son is a UC alumnus and granddaughter is currently a student at UC Irvine." In thinking about how I would like to honor Lou, I was drawn to the Kolligian Library and Librarian Bruce Miller's vision for a 21 st-century library as a dynamic place where students will gather and study, and where the exploration of ideas begins," she says.Taking shape on the second floor above the library's café, the Gonella Discovery Room will be the primary site for teaching students library research skills. This groundbreaking instruction room will offer students information and hands-on practice in finding, evaluating and applying information for their course assignments and for a lifetime of learning.

"I see the Gonella Discovery Room as a test bed - a place to experiment with new technology and innovative modes of instruction - and a model for other rooms as the library grows," says University Librarian Bruce Miller. "We will have a state-of-the-art facility because of Doris Gonella's thoughtfulness. On a personal level, her support is important to me because it connects the library to the Merced community, helping declare the community's ownership and making it real."

Library improvements to be funded through the Gonella donation include additional furniture, streaming video equipment, an electronic whiteboard and high-tech video displays to enhance instruction in the room. The gift also provides an endowment to keep the equipment functioning and up to date in the future. "It's very exciting to me to think of the technology that will be available in the library, where students will transform their ideas into research," says Doris Gonella. "Lou and I shared the dream of UC Merced and of helping this campus provide a wonderful opportunity for children in our area to attend a first-class university."

UC Merced Library to be Named for Leo And Dottie Kolligian

June 11, 2001

FRESNO - One of the three initial buildings on the University of California, Merced campus will be named in honor of Leo Kolligian, a Fresno native and former University of California Regent, and his late wife, Dottie. UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey today will announce a substantial naming gift from Leo Kolligian and his extended family during a celebration to be held beginning at 2 p.m. at the UC Center, Fresno.

In recognition of this generous commitment and the Kolligians' advocacy and support of UC Merced, the main library on campus will be named the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library. Also serving as an information technology center, the Kolligian Library will house an array of new and traditional information resources and services, computer laboratories, instructional technology support, multimedia services and library service instructional rooms.

Kolligian, an attorney and developer who graduated from California State University, Fresno and UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, practiced law in Fresno for more than 50 years. He served as Deputy California Attorney General under Robert Kenny and as a former Chairman of the UC Board of Regents. As Chair of the Board, he championed the cause for the first University of California campus in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1988, he moved for up to three new UC campuses, with the first one to be built in the Valley, and the Regents unanimously passed his motion.

Asked to serve as the first two members of the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees, Leo and Dottie Kolligian in turn persuaded other leaders throughout the San Joaquin Valley to join this key advisory board of the UC Merced campus.

"Leo Kolligian has earned the reputation as the father of the UC Merced campus for his steadfast support of the campus and his unrelenting commitment to ensure that it be located in the San Joaquin Valley," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "His dedicated and devoted wife, Dottie, was his partner in their advocacy for the new campus and was named UC Merced Trustee of the Year in December 2000. It is thus fitting that one of our first buildings at UC Merced honor their legacy."

Most notable in that legacy is the Kolligians' lifelong commitment to educational and charitable causes and activities.

"I am honored, elated and greatly appreciative of the respect that our family will be permanently associated with a world-class university, which will serve generations of outstanding young students from the Central Valley," said Leo Kolligian. "I am grateful and particularly pleased and thankful that the library, which I consider to be the heart of a university, will bear our names."

Leo Kolligian served for 12 years on the UC Board of Regents, including service as Chairman. He is past Chairman of the Saint Agnes Medical Center Board of Directors, past president of Boys Club of Fresno and the former President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union. In addition, he is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Fresno County Heart Association, Fresno Cancer Society, Sequoia Council of Boy Scouts and Fresno Arts Center, and a Trustee of the Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley. In 1998, he was Knighted in New York by the Sovereign and Venerable Order of St. John Priory in the United States of America.

Named Trustee Emeritus of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum in 1990 and the Saint Agnes Medical Center in 1997, he also was appointed as a Trustee Emeritus of the Professional Office Corporation of the Medical Center and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Fresno Historical Society.

Also a Fresno native and community leader, Dottie Kolligian founded the Fresno Chapter of Child Help USA, a community service organization for abused children, and volunteered at Fresno Community Hospital for 35 years. She belonged to the Fresno Historical Society's VIP support group, the La Comida Guild and Service Alliance of Fresno. In addition, she was active with the Fresno Symphony League, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum and the Fresno Cancer Society.

Dottie Kolligian attended the CSU Fresno campus and later established student scholarships at Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of California. A talented artist and musician, she was invited to play in the first violin section of the Fresno Symphony.

Founding Librarian

In addition to the tribute to the Kolligians and brief testimony by Leo Kolligian on behalf of the Kolligian family, Monday's program will include a presentation by UC Merced Founding Librarian Bruce Miller. He will discuss "The Research Library of the 21st Century" and share his vision for the UC Merced library's services and open spaces. An initial artist's conception of a view of the Kolligian Library also will be presented.

California Governor Gray Davis' 2001-2002 budget proposal allocates $162.4 million for the initial creation of infrastructure and the first three buildings at UC Merced, including $56.5 million for the library/information technology center.

Leo Kolligian and his extended family are committing their financial gift to establish a permanent endowment for the library. As University Librarian, Miller will administer the annual income from the endowment and direct the funds to support the library's most critical needs.

Literacy Celebration

In honor of the naming announcement, a literacy celebration will follow with a reading of passages from a book by Gary Soto, a Fresno native and writing professor at UC Riverside and UC Berkeley. Listening to the story as part of their first day in UC Merced's Malaga Summer Program will be approximately 40 kindergarten through third-grade students, who each will receive one of Soto's "Too Many Tamales," "The Old Man and His Door" or "Chato's Kitchen" books for children.

Serving 95 low-income, first-generation, college-bound students who live in Malaga, the Malaga Summer Program is in its second year. The program is a joint effort between the Malaga County Water District, UC Merced, the Sheriffs Activity League, Fresno EOC and Chevron, with the University responsible for the academic portion of the camp, including leadership, computer applications and language-development classes. The University also coordinates the weekly field trips students take to such places as the Monterey Aquarium, UC Berkeley and Hearst Castle.

The Kolligian naming gift will be announced during a celebration at 2 p.m. today (Monday, June 11) in the Inyo-Kern Room of the UC Center, Fresno at 550 East Shaw Avenue (across from Fashion Fair mall) in Fresno.

Local Family Supports UC Merced With the Establishment of 10th Endowed Chair, Library Fundraiser

October 5, 2001
MERCED - The Thondapu family of Merced has committed an endowed chair and spearheaded a major fund-raising campaign to purchase books for the University of California, Merced. To be formally announced tonight (October 5, 2001) during the UC Merced World Cultures Institute Library Fundraiser, the Thondapu Family Endowed Chair is a gift from Ramakrishna Thondapu, M.D.; his wife, Sumana; and their children, Vikas and Ramesh. This will be the 10th endowed chair established at UC Merced, which has received a greater number of such endowments than any other United States university campus prior to opening. The fund-raising effort will raise more than $20,000 to support the purchase of books for the World Cultures Institute section of the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library at UC Merced. Donors will be honored this evening at a special dinner and program at the home of the Thondapus. Included in the program will be an announcement of special gifts, presentations on "UC Merced's World Cultures Institute and You" and "UC Merced Kolligian Library for the New Millennium." "We feel so privileged to have the Thondapu family participate in our exciting enterprise to develop a premiere university campus and expand educational opportunities for the deserving people of the San Joaquin Valley," said UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "Specifically, their generous philanthropy will further the mission of the University of California to conduct world-class research and teaching." The exact academic use of the endowed chair has not yet been determined.

Contributions of $100 to $1,000 have been received from more than 100 individuals during the initial campaign to benefit the library. The names of patrons, or those whom they wish to honor, will appear on bookplates inside the covers of library books purchased with their donations. "I would like to share my gratitude for the leadership and vision of the Thondapus and the generosity of so many in this important endeavor to build a strong foundation for the World Cultures Institute Library Collection," said UC Merced Founding Librarian Bruce Miller. "Special collections will prove invaluable for research undertaken by faculty and students, and this particular collection will be a resource unique to the UC Merced campus." A member of the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees, Dr. Ramakrishna "Krishna" Thondapu is the medical director of anesthesia for Mercy Medical Center. He and Sumana "Suma" Thondapu were looking to relocate from Flint, Michigan to California when an opening surfaced for an anesthesiologist in Merced, and the family made the move 11 years ago. "We have always been excited about the prospect of UC Merced and believe very strongly in providing access to quality, higher education opportunities for students in the region," said Krishna Thondapu. "To make our contribution toward the success of this tremendous educational endeavor is something we feel is very important." "The inspiration to support the UC Merced library evolved from our recent visit to the UC Berkeley library," said Suma Thondapu. "After that tremendous experience, we wanted to help with the development of the UC Merced library so that everyone in the San Joaquin Valley also can benefit from such a resource." Education, with a special emphasis on reading and books, has long held a position of utmost importance in the lives of Krishna and Sumana "Suma" Thondapu, a value they also have instilled in their sons, Vikas and Ramesh. Krishna and Suma Thondapu pursued studies in higher education in their native India, departing after she had earned her master's degree in anthropology and in time for him to begin his medical residency program in Chicago. Showing evidence of wanting to follow his father into the field of medicine, 17-year-old Vikas began his undergraduate studies this fall at Duke University. Ramesh, 15, is a sophomore at Merced's Golden Valley High School. Spelling has been a specific interest of the Thondapu family, with Vikas and Ramesh both advancing to the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee and their mother helping with fund-raising at the local level. Endowed chairs and professorships at UC Merced will facilitate the hiring and retention of outstanding faculty. Income generated by the endowments assures a continuing income flow to fund the research of faculty member appointed to fill these positions. UC Merced may also seek endowments that will pay the salary of the professor as well as offer research funding. The Thondapu Family Endowed Chair in World Cultures is one of 10 endowed chairs pledged to the UC Merced campus. Other donors and their designated endowed chairs are: William and Dorothy Bizzini of Atwater, Biotechnology/Biological Sciences; Walter and Isabel Coats of Merced, Arts; County Bank (Tom Hawker) of Merced, Economics; Ted and Jan Falasco of Los Banos, Earth Sciences; the late Vincent Hillyer of Los Banos, Early Literature; Margaret and the late Joseph Josephine of Fresno, Biological Sciences; Art and Fafa Kamangar of Merced, Biological Sciences (nutrition and preventive medicine); John Myers of Merced and Beverly Hills, Sierra Nevada Research Institute; Keith and Elinor Shaffer of Santa Cruz, Engineering (chair also named for Bettylou George of Merced). Additional major endowments for UC Merced scholarships have been contributed by Margaret Josephine and John Myers. UC Merced currently employs approximately 85 educators and professionals. The University's main campus in Merced is being planned, and is expected to open in fall 2005 to serve 1,000 students. The campus will grow over coming decades to serve 25,000 students. UC Merced contributes to educational access through the entire San Joaquin region via special educational and outreach centers in Fresno and Bakersfield, and through the Tri-College Center in Merced. A new UC Merced center is expected to open in Modesto in 2002.

UC Merced Kolligian Library Receives Major Gift In Memory of McFadden-Willis Children

February 11, 2003
MERCED, CA --- The University of California, Merced has been pledged a gift of more than $250,000 to provide enhancements to the Kolligian Library on the new campus being constructed. The committed endowment is from the non-profit McFadden-Willis Children Memorial Foundation, which was created in memory of Melanie, Stanley, Stuart, and Michelle, who were the children of Merced veterinarian Dr. Christine McFadden.

The McFadden-Willis Children gift allows for the University to create upgrades to the fourth-floor reading room of the Kolligian library including special wood paneling, furniture, and fixtures not normally eligible for state funding. Additional funds from the gift will create an endowment to fund the purchase of books in perpetuity.

"In recognition of this very thoughtful gift, I am pleased to announce that the fourth-floor reading room will be formally named The McFadden/Willis Reading Room to honor the memory of the McFadden/Willis children," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "Through this generous donation to the Kolligian Library and other projects, Dr. McFadden and the foundation are creating an educational legacy that will benefit young people for generations to come. I am touched that Dr. McFadden has chosen UC Merced as a partner in this legacy."

Because of the endowment, the reading room will feature enhancements to lighting and furniture, wood ceilings and wood walls. The main entry portal will bear the McFadden/Willis Reading Room name and the internal entryway wall will celebrate the lives of the four children with their names and a special friendship quotation. Reading room donations of $1,000 or more will be recognized on a plaque. The foundation gift also will fund a roof garden on the library's third floor.

"This donation gives us the opportunity to augment state funds allocated for this project and to add substantially nicer finishes to the room. These will be the graceful touches that mark the world's classic libraries," said University Librarian Bruce Miller. "We also are fortunate that the endowment will help fill our tremendous need for library materials, which will benefit students and scholars for generations to come."

In making the pledge to UC Merced, McFadden shared her desire that her children's lives continue to touch others in positive ways, that the children's bright spirits live on in projects representing who they were and that they be remembered on the new campus.

"I envision the reading room as a contemplative space where one can both reflect and be transformed through words," said McFadden, a graduate of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "It is also a wonderful room to view the surrounding landscape and for some, the place where they will begin their connection with the San Joaquin Valley. I believe each of my children would have been drawn to this special room and that my choice will honor and serve them well."
The Kolligian Library endowment is part of McFadden's wish to memorialize Melanie, Stanley, Stuart and Michelle through initiatives funded through the McFadden-Willis Memorial Foundation for the benefit the children and families of Merced County.

The foundation also has established Friendship Scholarships for students who are graduating from the Merced Union High School District and planning to attend a four-year college or university. To qualify, students must display strong qualities of friendship and compassion.

Raising funds for a pediatric wing and children's center at the new Mercy Medical Center in Merced is another foundation goal.

Upcoming fund-raising events to support these and other programs include a Celebrity Golf Tournament in Thousand Oaks on April 11 and a Jewelry Auction and Benefit at Merced's Italo-American Lodge on May 3.

One of the first three buildings to be constructed on the UC Merced campus, the Kolligian Library will be the University's "front door." The library will be a vibrant place for learning and collaboration, combining physical and digital resources to create a cutting-edge library for the 21st century.
Previous endowments supporting the library have come from Fresno's Leo Kolligian, former Chairman of the UC Board of Regents and member of the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees, and his late wife, Dottie, for whom the library is named. Also providing generous facility support were Fresno developer Ed Kashian and his wife, Jeanne. Spearheading a fund-raising campaign for library materials, Dr. Krishna and Suma Thondapu of Merced helped garner generous funding for the World Cultures Institute special collection.

UC Merced's Kolligian Library will join the University of California's vast library resources. With collections totaling 30 million volumes, the UC library collections are surpassed in size on the American continent by only the Library of Congress collection.

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