Faculty couple leave estate gift of $10.5 million for undergraduate scholarships

The late professors emeriti Dr. Sidney Roberts and Dr. Clara Szego Roberts have left $10.5 million to UCLA to provide scholarships for undergraduate students studying science and art.

Their bequest reflects the couple’s backgrounds — both benefited from college scholarships — and their passion for science and the arts. In addition to careers as endocrinologists, the two enjoyed drawing, painting, writing and music.

In keeping with their interests, their estate also provided $1.5 million to establish a chair in molecular and cellular endocrinology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a Sohmer grand piano to support community outreach for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

The couple came to UCLA in the late 1940s after meeting as graduate students at the University of Minnesota. Both were staunch advocates for basic research, and their individual and collaborative efforts advanced understanding of hormones in relation to metabolism, nutrition, brain function and other areas. The two shared a Ciba Award for “significant contributions to endocrinology” in 1953 and were named Guggenheim Fellows in 1956.

Sidney Roberts also helped launch UCLA’s medical school as its first academic appointment and later became a founding member of the Brain Research Institute. He died in 2016, followed by his wife in 2017.

The couple’s bequests are part of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA , which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.