Yankelovich, 91, is known for founding the New York Times poll and nonpartisan public policy research organizations like Public Agenda. The exact amount of the donation was not disclosed.
The La Jolla resident serves on the center’s executive committee, and has also been a member of the UCSD Foundation Board of Trustees and the Social Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council.
“I think the university has an appetite for leadership that is not resting on its laurels — it’s open-minded and willing to consider ways to change in order meet the objectives of higher education,” Yankelovich said. “And I think there is a willingness to reform higher education in order to meet the goals the country has set as a means of revitalizing equality of opportunity.”
He said he hopes the center can develop a model for other universities to follow on how to use the social sciences to address the nation’s most urgent problems.
The UCSD center, founded about four years ago through a prior Yankelovich gift, is developing a research agenda that begins with the issue of upward mobility. It also provides seed funding for projects by UCSD researchers that show promise of having a significant national impact.
“We are honored to have Daniel Yankelovich as a friend and advisor to our campus,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “With his generous bequest — one of the largest gifts made to the Division of Social Sciences– and his expertise, I am confident that our research focus on social mobility and other social sciences research will have a national impact.”
City News Service contributed to this article.