UCSB coastline in Winter.

Give to Geography

Gifts of support for the Department of Geography at UCSB are deeply appreciated. All gifts, large and small, help us in our mission of teaching and research and in promoting the study and understanding of planet Earth and its inhabitants. You may give an unrestricted gift or direct how the money is used.

If you’d like to help, please consider one of Geography’s many giving opportunities.

Giving Priorities

Unrestricted Support

Unrestricted gifts to the Department are designated to the highest priority needs by the Department Chair. This flexible funding allows the Department to seize new opportunities that emerge, as well as to support the existing outstanding students, faculty, programs, and research. Unrestricted gifts can:

  • create top-notch learning programs for undergraduates
  • support and reward the research endeavors of our very best students
  • facilitate cutting edge research efforts that move both science and society forward
  • attract and hire the most competitively recruited scientists at every stage of their careers
  • support the best and brightest graduate students in their pursuit of a Ph.D. degree
  • bring distinguished lecturers to the Department to the benefit of both faculty and students
  • outfit and equip laboratories where faculty and students of all levels can interact

At the heart of any great institution are the people whose vision and talent define it. In the Department of Geography, we seek funding that will enable us to attract and retain world-class scholars and the most promising students.

Student Support

The strength of a university department is often evaluated on the quality of its students and the research in which they are engaged. Our ability to recruit and retain the very best scholars is essential to the success of the Department. Education is at the core of our mission, and your support of the outstanding undergraduates and graduates within the Department is instrumental in our ability to educate the next generation of leaders whose future endeavors will have a profound impact on society.

Award Funds

Your donation to one of our established funds is greatly appreciated. If you wish to make a contribution in honor of your advisor or another Geography mentor, we’re enthusiastic to work with you to craft the fund, award, or scholarship that suits your vision. Our Sr. Development Director, Erin Kozaki, is available to assist you with the process.

Waldo Tobler Distinguished Lectureship

The Waldo Tobler Memorial Lecture Fund was established in honor of Waldo R. Tobler, professor of Geography at UC Santa Barbara for 41 years. Professor Tobler was an internationally renowned geographer and cartographer. Beginning in the 1960s, he introduced innovative methods based on digital technologies in geographic research that emphasized theory, mathematical modeling, and dynamic visualization. He is known for formulating the celebrated First Law of Geography, and for Tobler’s Hiking Function. He was the inventor of novel and unusual map projections, and of methods for the creation of area cartograms. Gifts to this endowed fund support open lectures in the fields of demography, mapping and cartography, and geographic information science in Tobler's name.

Akella Family Scholarship in Geography

The Akella Family Scholarship was created to support undergraduate students based on compelling family/personal circumstances and academic achievement. Highest consideration is given to students who have unique and challenging obligations, such as re-entry/non-traditional students, extended family responsibilities, etc. The award is available to all declared Geography majors (first year as well as continuing students).

David S. Simonett Memorial Award

This fund was established to honor the memory of David S. Simonett, a Professor of Geography at UCSB from 1975 until his death on December 22, 1990. This award is disseminated each academic year to an outstanding graduate student for their service to the department, the discipline, academic progress, and academic accomplishment. David was a world-renowned authority in the field of remote sensing and a founding director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA). The UC Board of Regents renamed UCSB’s division of the NCGIA in honor of Professor Simonett. David was chairman of the Department of Geography from 1975 to 1982 and the Dean of Students at UCSB until 1989. David Simonett provided the vision and energy to build what has become one of the nation’s finest Geography Departments here at UCSB.

Jack Estes Memorial Award

The fund was created to honor the memory of Professor Jack Estes. Each academic year this award is given to the best graduate student working with remote sensing. Jack was a Geography faculty member for over thirty years and the Director of the Geography Remote Sensing Unit. His primary research interests involved the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems technology for analysis of earth resources. Among the agencies he conducted studies for were NASA on land-use change, crop identification and advanced soil moisture conditions; the U.S. Forest Service on fire fuels monitoring and modeling; and the Environmental Protection Agency on hazard and pollution detection and modeling and resources management. This fund was established to support students who are continuing and advancing his field of research.

Leal Ann Kerry Mertes Memorial Scholarship Fund

Leal Ann Kerry Mertes was a Geography faculty member who investigated rivers, wetlands, and floodplains globally. Her interests spanned the dynamics of river channel, floodplain, and wetlands interactions; the remote sensing of wetland environments; and the long term evolution of large river systems. She also devoted a great deal of effort to educational issues, including curriculum design and assessment. This fund was established to honor Leal Mertes by supporting UCSB students (graduate or undergraduate) who are planning or are engaged in field research. The scholarship is awarded to talented and deserving students enrolled in UCSB departments where fieldwork is an integral component of applied academics. For the purpose of this scholarship, “field work” is defined as a field activity devoted to studying, observing, sampling, investigating, or measuring natural or human phenomena. The funds support both the scholarly activities and the expenses associated with the award (for example: stipends, travel expenses, research supplies, and research preparation costs). Successful applicants must meet the following criteria: Applicants must be in good academic standing at UCSB, applicants must submit a 2-page proposal with a separate budget describing the field work to be accomplished with the support of the scholarship, and must provide a letter of support from a faculty member or researcher. The Geography Department Awards Committee reserves the right to fund none, one, or more proposals in any given year. The amount of the award will be based on the individual recipient’s proposal and is anticipated to be in the range of $1,000-$2,500. Proposals will be assessed on merit, with allowance for financial need. Awards must be used for the purposes outlined in the proposal or as approved by the student’s advisor. Calls for award applications are made in the Winter Quarter, and the award is presented at the last Colloquium of Spring Quarter.

Nicholas Bourdakis Memorial Award

This fund was established to recognize new Geography Majors with the highest GPA. The fund was established after the tragic death of Nicolas, who died in February 2001 when struck by a car in Isla Vista. He had just declared as Geography his major.

Reginald Golledge Distinguished Lectureship

The Regionald Golledge Distinguished Lecture was initially instituted in 1984 when Prof. Golledge lost his sight. Without vision, a major problem Reg had was how to keep up with research in his fields of interest. Having a venue for bringing in top scholars from across the world assisted him in his research. With the passing of Dr. Golledge, this fund is used to invite nationally or internationally known visiting lecturers in Human Geography to campus to share their research in a public forum.

Samantha C. Ying Gamma Theta Upsilon Scholarship

The Samantha C. Ying Gamma Theta Upsilon Scholarship is named in honor of one of our distinguished alumna and supports undergraduate student(s), based on the criteria of academic achievement and compelling family/personal circumstances. Highest consideration is given to students who are active or contributing members of the UCSB Geography Club (the Theta Nu Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon), and the award is available to all declared Geography majors (including freshmen) who meet the above criteria. UCSB’s chapter of the national geographical honor society Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) has been around since 1998. GTU has thrived as an official campus organization, and the Samantha C. Ying Gamma Theta Upsilon Scholarship is bound to further increase and encourage its membership.

Geography Excellence in Research

This award is conferred each year to one graduate student for their excellence in research. Award criteria includes outstanding presentations at national meetings, authoring or co-authoring important publications, significant research results, and/or outstanding performance in lab or field experiments.

Geography Excellence in Teaching

This award is conferred each year to one or more graduate student for their excellence in teaching. Award criteria includes outstanding course evaluations as TAs and/or Associates, outstanding written comments from students, outstanding evaluations of TA work by the course instructor, outstanding design of course or lab syllabi, or outstanding design of lab or section activities.


Erin Kozaki
Sr. Development Director
Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences
UC Santa Barbara

 How to Donate

Donate Online

For simplicity, your gift to Geography can be completed through our secure giving portal:

Explore a variety of other giving methods
Donate by Check

Made payable to either the UC Regents or the UC Santa Barbara Foundation, depending on giving area (please consult Development department). Indicate any specific purpose in the memo line and mail to:

Department of Geography
1832 Ellison Hall
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4060

Additional Donation Methods

Read more about other giving methods (including wire transfers, securities, payroll deduction, trust and estate gifts, retirement plans, or gifts-in-kind)

 Geography Award Recipients

 Geography Donors

The Department of Geography would like to thank the following individuals, corporations, and foundations for their generous support.

Individual Donors
  • Tricia and Tony Bourdakis
  • Dr. Robert E. Crippen
  • Jack and Laura Dangermond
  • Ms. Alanna Dore
  • Ms. Margaret Elam
  • James and Shannon Frew
  • Mr. Earl J. Hajic
  • Mr. Donald G. Janelle
  • Mrs. Barbara M. Janelle
  • Ms. Sharon Keigher
  • Ms. Susan Kennedy-Kalafatis
  • Mr. Tihomir S. Kostadinov
  • Dr. Donald T. Lauer
  • Mr. Thomas G. Massa
  • Ms. Amanda K. MacLeod
  • Joel Michaelsen ’69
  • Wendy Wittl and Gregory Mohr ’82/’76
  • Dr. Daniel R. Montello
  • Mr. Marco E. Morais
  • Marianne Wampler and Dar Roberts /’82
  • Mr. Landon W. Romano ’99
  • Mr. Anthony M. Saponaro
  • Mrs. Holly Jo Saponaro
  • Julie and David Siegel
  • Ms. Sara E. Stein
  • Mr. Peter A. Stine
  • Dr. Douglas A. Stow
  • Rachel and Waldo Tobler ’87
  • Ms. Tara L. Torburn
  • Mr. Tom E. Traeger
  • Mr. Matthew O. Ward
  • Dr. Libe Washburn
  • Dr. R. Ian A. Webb
  • Mrs. Louise K. Webb
  • James Wells
  • Dr. Robert B. West
  • Dr. Dawn J. Wright
Corporations and Foundations
  • California Forest Research Association
  • California Redwood Association
  • Aetna Foundation, Inc.
  • Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.
  • Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
  • Google, Inc.
  • Laguna Blanca School
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Northrop Grumman Space & Mission System Corporation
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • SAGE Publishing
  • Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign
  • Wells Fargo Matching Gift Center
  • William E. Weiss Foundation, Inc.