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Celebrating one generous and precious life

Daniel Jacoby visits the Shackleton memorial in Antarctica. The book The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander helped guide Daniel through his struggle with cancer.
Daniel Jacoby visits the Shackleton memorial in Antarctica. The book The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander helped guide Daniel through his struggle with cancer.

In 2002, as Daniel Jacoby (B.S. '88, bioengineering) fought his own battle with an inoperable tumor, he traveled to the South Pole on a Russian ice-breaker boat to retrace the footsteps of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. That famed explorer of the early 1900s had been shipwrecked in Antarctica, and managed to survive with his crew of 28 men for 1 1/2 years. Shackleton and five men journeyed more than 800 miles through rough seas, glaciers and snow-fields to seek help and finally rescue the lost crew. Daniel considered Shackleton to be the ultimate survivor, and so he braved the elements of Antarctica to create a photo documentary that he hoped would inspire other cancer victims.

Daniel died too soon in March 13, 2004 at age 38, but the impact of his work as a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist lives on. When his father, David Jacoby, became aware of the Jacobs School's Legacy Walk program, he immediately felt it was a wonderful way to memorialize his son.

"What I remember most about Daniel was his passion for life and his tremendous drive to help other people," says David Jacoby. Like Daniel, David, his late-wife Janine, and his daughter Naomi all graduated from University of California campuses.

Daniel was an all-star athlete and a top scholar. At UCSD, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, and he made friends who stayed by his side for the rest of his life.

Daniel went on in 1995 to co-found Digital Insight, an early pioneer in online banking services. Within four years, Digital Insight became a billion dollar company with 800 employees, and remains an industry leader today.

Daniel's brain-stem tumor was discovered shortly after Digital Insight was founded, and as he built his own business, he also helped to organize and fund the Wellness Community Ventura and Valley Chapter, dedicated to aiding cancer patients and their caretakers. When Daniel's cancer relapsed, he retired from his business but continued to help others. Just six weeks prior to his death, he worked from his bed to incorporate Interfaith Inventions, a national summer camp program to bring together children of different faiths to learn about each other's customs and lifestyles.

"Daniel inspires all of us to think about the legacy that we are creating," says Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb of Interfaith Inventions. "His life has so much meaning beyond the time that he lived, and will touch so many future generations."