First Endowed Chair in Computer Science Established

December 6, 2005

Karl and Pamela Lopker and the Lopker Family Foundation have made a major gift to help establish the first endowed chair in computer science in UCSB’s College of Engineering (COE).
The endowed professorship will support the teaching and research activities of a distinguished scholar recruited to fill the position. The donors have named the chair in honor of Venkatesh “Venky” Narayanamurti, a dynamic leader and distinguished physicist who served as COE’s dean from 1992 until 1998. He left to become Harvard University’s dean of engineering and applied sciences.
“This generous support not only honors the visionary leadership and significant contributions of UCSB’s former Dean Venky Narayanamurti, but it is also a tribute to our outstanding College of Engineering,” said Chancellor Henry Yang. “We are proud of the success of both of our alums, Karl and Pamela Lopker, and we are grateful to them and to the Lopker Foundation for their vision and generosity in making such a significant investment in the advancement of computer science and engineering”
Current COE Dean Matthew Tirrell said, “Venky’s energy, contagious enthusiasm, and vision were instrumental in propelling the College of Engineering to the status it is accorded today—among the nation’s premier engineering schools. We are …proud to have such dedicated alumni committed to the continued excellence of education at UCSB.”
Endowed chairs are highly prized academic positions that enable a university to develop more fully a field of study by providing ongoing financial support for enhanced research and instruction.
“The Venkatesh Narayanamurti Chair will enable computer science to recruit a stellar young faculty member,” said Linda Petzold, professor and chair of computer science. “We are delighted to have this first-ever chair in the discipline at UCSB.”
Karl and Pamela Lopker are highly successful entrepreneurs. He earned a degree in electrical and computer engineering, and she majored in mathematics and economics. Together, the Lopkers founded QAD, a leading developer of software for global manufacturers. Previously, Karl Lopker founded Deckers Outdoor Corporation.
“As UCSB alumni, we wanted to give back to the university and provide funding for public education, which is under so much financial constraint in California,” said Pamela Meyer Lopker, ’77, chair of the board and president of QAD in Summerland. Karl Lopker, ’73, is chief executive officer and a director of the corporation.