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Dr. Paul Terasaki awarded UCLA Medal at Commencement

Dr. Paul Terasaki awarded UCLA Medal at Commencement

On Friday, June 15, 2012, Chancellor Gene Block presented the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor, to UCLA alumnus and Professor Emeritus of Surgery Paul Terasaki, a pioneer in organ-transplant medicine who was the first to devise a method to perform “tissue typing,” which assesses the compatibility of organ donors and recipients.

 A longtime UCLA supporter, Terasaki donated $50 million to the UCLA Division of Life Sciences, the largest gift ever received by the College of Letters and Science. The Terasaki Life Sciences Building, opened in fall 2010, was named in his honor. 

"Dr. Terasaki is an outstanding scientist and inspirational role model who has contributed to UCLA's excellence and to society in so many ways, including his monumental accomplishments in transplant medicine," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. "As I have come to know Dr. Terasaki, I have been inspired by his generosity and his humility. His vision and abiding belief in UCLA's continued excellence are truly exceptional."

Terasaki's generosity to UCLA goes back years and has benefited many parts of the university. In 2001, he established an endowed chair in U.S.–Japan relations, and in 2006, he and his wife contributed $5 million to UCLA to promote better understanding between the United States and Japan at the renamed Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies at the UCLA International Institute. They also established the Nibei Foundation to encourage fellowship and partnership between Japanese and Japanese-American professors and doctors.

Earlier this month, Terasaki was honored as the Edward A. Dickson Alumnus of the Year by the UCLA Alumni Association. On June 1, UCLA's Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies celebrated its 20th anniversary with a forum titled "New Visions of Japan."