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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Entrepreneur's Corner:
When Surfing Is Not Enough
Sheldon Engelhorn, Revelle ’72


In 1987, after years as researchers, Sheldon Engelhorn and fellow alumnus Richard Chan, Muir ’74, founded NOVEX, a company that produced scientific testing materials. After the company merged with Invitrogen in 1999, Engelhorn retired to spend more time with his wife, four children—and the waves. But the avid surfer also wanted to become more involved at UC San Diego. He joined the Undergraduate Scholarship Council in September 2001 and was chair from 2002 to 2004.

While building the scholarship base, Englehorn noticed that students transferring from community colleges were often lacking financial support. “Junior college students are often from more diverse backgrounds. You find students who are parents with jobs and families to support, while they are also pursuing courses at a demanding university,” he says. “You know they will be successful because they can keep up with all those demands. But they don’t have as easy a path.”

In order to make that path easier, Engelhorn and his wife Susie, endowed the Engelhorn Family Scholarship Fund in 2002. Since then, the fund has awarded financial aid to a total of 120 transfer students for their junior and senior years, including 15 transfer students who will be starting this fall “ This scholarship provides much-needed extra support to transfer students,” says Kim Signoret-Paar, in Development. It allows them time to do ­research, volunteer or study abroad instead of working multiple jobs to make ends meet.”

Englehorn hopes that the scholarship will also help the University. “I think the University is in danger of becoming homogeneous and not representative of the surrounding community,” he says.

Englehorn has also been on the board of the UC San Diego Alumni Association for the past few years, and assumed the presidency in July. “He brings a special type of reflective leadership to the board,” says Armin Afsahi, ’90, assistant vice chancellor for Alumni ­Affairs. “We all appreciate his insights, energy and advocacy of UC San Diego.”

With all of that, does Englehorn still manage to make it down to the beach?

“ Every day that there’s surf,” he says with a laugh.

— Karla DeVries, ’04

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