News Release

Helping the Next Generation of Students Come Up through the Jacobs School

Mark J. Sally

San Diego, CA, December 08, 2014 -- Mark J. Sally (MS '87, chemical engineering) was professor Richard Hertz’s first graduate student at UC San Diego. Mark received a fellowship to attend UC San Diego where he worked closely with a dynamic group of professors and students that also included Pao C. Chau, now professor emeritus nanoengineering, and David Miller, now professor emeritus, mechanical and aerospace engineering.

“They were truly an inspiration,” said Mark who went on to apply his background in chemistry and chemical engineering to the field of catalysis research.

Some of Mark's favorite memories about his time at UC San Diego were the informal gatherings at what was formerly called the Triton Pub (now Porter's Pub) with professors and fellow students enjoying conversation and cold beer. For Mark, the memories of these meet-ups helped make the learning environment more enjoyable — he truly felt the professors were easily reached and interested in working closely with the students.

As an alumnus to the class of 1987, one of the most surprising yet exciting changes he has seen at UC San Diego is the growth of the Jacobs School of Engineering. This growth has enabled opportunities for additional students to obtain their education from a UC school.

“If you go to UCSD, you are going to come out with a very high quality education from a prestigious university. What students will get out of their studies comes from what they put into them. After all, the Jacobs School and UCSD offer some of the top notch research opportunities in the US.”

Mark’s passion for education and appreciation for what his engineering degree has done for him throughout his career motivated him to start giving back to his alma mater a decade ago.

“Giving back to the organization that helped me get to where I am today provides personal fulfillment every time I write a check. I was awarded scholarships and graduate student support that helped ease a financial burden, so the cycle of supporting the next group of students coming through needs to repeat," said Mark.

He specifically chose to support the Jacobs School of Engineering annual fund because he likes leaving the decision of where to best put his philanthropic dollars to use in the hands of the Dean and the Jacobs School. A bonus is having his current employer, Chevron, match his annual gift.

Mark had the following advice for fellow Jacobs School alumni who are considering making a first or return gift to the School.

"Look at what society did to help you personally come to Jacobs School. Other contributors — including the state and taxpayers — enabled us to come here. Our educational system in this country is the key to keeping our prosperity. Once you have finished your degree and reach that point in life where things are stable, it is your turn to be one of the individuals helping the next generation of students come up through the University. Philanthropy is a way to thank the University for what it has done for you. Helping the next generation should give everyone a good feeling. In the end, education is exciting, what people choose to do with their education in the form of good jobs will ultimately benefit us all."

Mark currently serves as the Product Engineering Specialist - Americas Products for Chevron Products Company in San Ramon, California. His experience includes over 30 years in refining & chemicals, including gasoline & distillate fuel manufacture, economics & planning, quality assurance, capital projects, reliability, operations and technical support. 

Story written by Adrienne Boli
Director, Alumni Affairs
Phone: (858) 822-6968
abolli AT

Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering