Support Us

The merger of two neutron stars, shown an image from a computer simulation (credit: Stephan Rosswog and Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz).

Philanthropy Makes Our Work Possible

Unlike many other sciences, progress in astronomy has traditionally relied on the generosity of informed public benefactors— the UCSC Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and its associated observatories are no exceptions. Private gifts are precious resources for opening up new avenues in research and education that State and Federal funds cannot support. Your gift can make an enormous difference to the education and research careers of our students and faculty. We are currently encouraging support of the following programs:

Astronomy and Astrophysics General Funds:  Your gift can help provide scholarships for our students and fund research, travel to scholarly meetings, or areas that require urgent one-time support and other needs not covered by the University.

James Edward Keeler Fund Excellence Astronomy & Astrophysics: The fund, established in 2016, by long-time UCO staff researcher Arnold Klemola, supports current graduate students and helps the department attract outstanding applicants. The Keeler fund aims to help students from all backgrounds, particularly first in family to enter higher education. Klemola selflessly named the fund after James Edward Keeler, who established the technology for large reflecting telescopes and used the Crossley reflector at Lick Observatory to take the first deep images of the cosmos, revealing the universe of extragalactic nebulae. 

Bill Mathews Fund for Excellence in Astronomy and AstrophysicsWilliam George “Bill” Mathews—astrophysicist, musician, and idea foundry—died on September 24 at the age of 84, but his sparkle lives on. Bill was an inspirational colleague and teacher who shaped the careers of all of us fortunate enough to reside within his sphere of influence. Bill's passion for life and for science, his fervor, his honesty, his brilliance, his dedication, his relentless resolution, his high expectations for the pursuit of knowledge, his love of family and community, and his wonderful attentiveness for fun, were the trademarks of his life. Gifts in Bill’s memory can be made to support current graduate students and attract outstanding graduate student candidates in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department.


The Donald E. and Irene Osterbrock Leadership Fellowships:  The Osterbrock Fellowships are the first privately endowed fellowships in our history. This prestigious award underscores our determination to attract, train, and mentor the world’s finest graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics, and to cultivate the skills that will enable them to become the nation's future leaders in their field, as well as in science in general.

The fellowships honor two outstanding individuals. The eminent American astronomer Donald Osterbrock pioneered the study of gaseous nebulae, helped to discover that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, originated the classification scheme for active galactic nuclei, and served as one of Lick Observatory’s most influential directors. Don was a gifted teacher and advisor, and his doctoral students now comprise a significant portion of America’s astronomical leadership. His wife, Irene, worked tirelessly to help establish the UCSC Library’s Mary Lea Shane Archives of the Lick Observatory, which serve as a world-renowned repository of U.S. astronomical history.

Private donors are encouraged to support these very special fellowships, which will facilitate UCSC's on-going leadership in research and education in the field of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Our faculty members themselves are pledging generously to match each private gift, dollar for dollar, to hasten establishment of this worthwhile tribute to leadership, past and future.

Learn more about the Osterbrock Program.


Other Opportunities: Many other opportunities for supporting UCSC's world-renowned programs in astronomy and astrophysics are available. For more information on giving, call the Division's Development Office (831-459-2192) or email us