Electrical Engineer Named Wolf Scholar

Phoebe Contreras-Jones receives scholarship honoring Jack Keil Wolf

When electrical engineering undergraduate Phoebe Contreras-Jones called to share the news, her mother start-ed crying; she was overwhelmed with pride. Contreras-Jones had just found out she was named the inaugural recipient of the Jack Keil Wolf Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to outstanding undergraduates in electrical and computer engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

“The scholarship will drastically reduce the amount in loans I will have to take out. It means I can focus on school,” said Contreras-Jones. “And the donors want to mentor me. I can’t describe how much that means to me.”

The scholarship honors Jack Keil Wolf, who was a pioneer in informa-tion theory and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Jacobs School.

“Jack was an inspiring teacher and mentor,” said Roberto Padovani, executive vice president at Qualcomm Technologies. Padovani studied under Wolf as a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts,


Phoebe Contreras-Jones, the first Wolf Scholar on campus

Amherst. After Wolf’s passing in 2011, Padovani and his wife, Colleen, helped to establish the scholarship in Wolf's name.

“He was a great researcher in communication systems, information and coding theory and was honored with many awards, but at his heart it was the joy of teaching that made him happy,” said Padovani.

Now, Wolf’s legacy will continue to impact generations of stu-dents — starting with Contreras-Jones.

Endowed Chair

Gift from Shao-Chi and Lily Lin will establish endowed chair in Aerospace Engineering and Applied Physics

There were just a few buildings on the main campus when Shao-Chi (S.C.) Lin was recruit-ed to UC San Diego from Boston in 1964. His leading-edge work on the physics of strong shock waves and hypersonic flight caught the attention of the founders of UC San Diego’s engineering program, and his research and teaching contributed to its early success. Now, a legacy gift from S.C. Lin and his wife, Lily, will help to attract and retain exceptional faculty members at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

“It’s important to give back,” said S.C. and Lily Lin. “The university gave us many oppor-tunities. Now it’s our turn to give younger re-searchers and scholars a helping hand.”

The Lins made a $2 million bequest to endow a Shao-Chi and Lily Lin Professor in

Aerospace Engineering and Applied Physics, as well as to set up a scholarly exchange fund. Once established, the endowed chair will pro-vide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, for the chair holder’s academic and teaching activities.

“Endowed chairs are vital to the Jacobs School, enabling us to attract and retain world-renowned faculty,” said Albert P. Pisano, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “We are grateful to the Lins for their generous sup-port and confidence in UC San Diego’s engi-neering program.”

A professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering, S.C. Lin is regarded as a pioneer in the study of short wavelength, high-power gas lasers. Many of his students have gone on to do important work in the field as well, including helping to spawn a number of private and public high-tech companies.

“The best reward has been seeing my stu-dents become successful professors, entrepre-neurs and leaders,” said Lin.

The Lins’ passion for giving back stems in part from their own experiences as students.

Lily Lin received a four-year scholarship for her undergraduate study at St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn., where she earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. S.C. Lin ob-tained his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Aeronautical Engineering at Cornell University with the support of a fellowship.

York Society

With their gift, the Lins have become mem-bers of the York Society at UC San Diego. Named in honor of Herbert York, UC San Diego’s founding chancellor, the York Society recognizes and thanks an exceptional group of alumni, faculty, parents, staff, community leaders and other friends, whose generosity through planned gifts helps secure the future of one of the world's greatest universities.

For more information on the York Society, visit the UC San Diego Office of Gift Planning at

To learn more about supporting the Jacobs School of Engineering, please contact William Burfitt, Executive Director of Development at or (858) 246-0593.

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