Office of the Chancellor

$55 million gift to research depression

Feb. 7, 2022

I am delighted to announce that UCI has received a more than $55 million bequest from a longtime benefactor, the late philanthropist Audrey Steele Burnand, to fund the creation of a new campuswide center that will pursue research into the causes and treatment of depression. It is believed to be the largest philanthropic donation to a U.S. university to support research focused solely on depression, which is the most prevalent mental health disorder in the nation.

The creation of the center, which will be named the Noel Drury M.D. Depression Research Center, will allow UCI to make an enormous contribution toward helping the millions of people who directly and indirectly suffer from the effects of depression. It will draw from and build upon existing research efforts that encompass many fields of study – from biology and the health sciences to engineering and the social sciences. This kind of interdisciplinary and collaborative work is the hallmark of UCI research.

Mrs. Burnand, who died in June 2020, contributed to the arts, education, environmental conservation, and scientific and medical research at institutions throughout Southern California. During her lifetime, she supported Alzheimer’s disease research at UCI MIND and made gifts to create and support the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center. As part of her estate gift to UCI, $2.6 million will provide perpetual support for the Steele/Burnand Center, located in Borrego Springs.

You can read more about this transformational gift in the press release. Audrey Steele Burnand’s legacy will enable us to create a world-class research center that builds upon our historical excellence in the neurosciences to make life better for people in our region, across the nation and around the world.

Chancellor Howard Gillman