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UCI Loses One of Its Founders: Joan Irvine Smith

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Philanthropist, environmentalist, social activist, and Southern California art historian, Joan Irvine Smith died peacefully at her home on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at age 86.

A member of the family who founded the Irvine Ranch, Ms. Smith was instrumental in establishing UCI and co-founded CHOC Children’s Hospital.

In 1960, Smith convinced the Irvine Company to sell 1,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch to the University of California for the fee of $1. That transaction established UCI. Smith provided funding for the Reeve-Irvine Research Center and the UCI School of Law.

A fierce environmentalist, Smith was a strong proponent for the City of Irvine’s master plan and the preservation of animal habitat on the ranch.

In addition to publishing 21 books on the California School of Impressionism, Smith founded the Irvine Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period.

In a letter announcing Smith’s passing, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman stated that the university will host a celebration of Smith’s life in the spring.  To read Chancellor Gillman’s complete letter, click here.

ICNV Staff

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