$25M Gift from Susan and Bill Oberndorf Supports Psychiatry, Translational Research

With New Commitment, Couple’s Total Giving to ‘UCSF: The Campaign’ Reaches $50M

By Pete Farley

Bill and Susan Oberndorf

The Susan and Bill Oberndorf Foundation has made a new commitment of $25 million to UC San Francisco. Twenty million dollars of the funds are unrestricted, to be used at the discretion of Matthew State, MD, PhD, chair and Oberndorf Family Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, and the remaining $5 million is earmarked to advance translational research projects in psychiatry and the neurosciences.

Including the new gift, the Oberndorf Foundation’s giving over the past three years to UCSF: The Campaign, a comprehensive $5 billion fundraising effort launched in 2017, totals $50 million.

“Susan and I feel privileged to be able to make this additional donation to UCSF,” said Oberndorf. “In keeping with our philosophy of giving, we like to back talented individuals in a specific area of interest and let them determine how best to use the funds.

"Since coming to UCSF six years ago, Matt State has proved to be a transformative leader in transitioning UCSF's Department of Psychiatry into one of the very best in the country. We simply could not be more pleased with the progress Matt and his colleagues are making in finding ways to address some of the most challenging mental health issues of our time."

State is world renowned for his research on the genetics of autism spectrum disorders and Tourette syndrome. During his six-year tenure as chair of UCSF’s Department of Psychiatry, he has greatly strengthened ties between that department and UCSF’s Departments of Neurology and of Neurosurgery, and the UCSF basic science community, to accelerate the search for the causes of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders as well as the development of new, more effective, and more targeted treatments.

He has also placed a very high priority on advancing the Department of Psychiatry’s public mission, with large-scale collaborative efforts aimed at addressing mental health and substance use issues affecting homeless individuals, immigrants, and seriously and chronically ill patients – both children and adults – which is an area of particular interest to Susan Oberndorf.

The truly remarkable support from Susan and Bill has allowed us to lay the groundwork for all we’re doing at UCSF to better understand and treat mental illness.

Matthew State, MD, PhD
Oberndorf Family Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry

“The truly remarkable support from Susan and Bill has allowed us to lay the groundwork for all we’re doing at UCSF to better understand and treat mental illness,” said State. “It’s especially important and gratifying that this new gift includes discretionary funds, as this gives our department a nimbleness and flexibility that is crucial when determining priorities in a field as broad and diverse as ours.”

UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, said, “I’m tremendously grateful to Susan and Bill for their unflagging generosity and service to UCSF. Their continuing support of Matt State’s vision for the Department of Psychiatry, especially their trust in his judgment on how to best realize that vision, are making a significant difference in the lives of those who struggle with mental illness.”

About the Oberndorfs: Susan Oberndorf is chairman of WNC Corporation, the Susan and Bill Oberndorf Foundation and the Delbert Coleman Foundation. She is also a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund and a longtime volunteer at Stanford University. Bill Oberndorf is chairman of Oberndorf Enterprises, the Board of Overseers of UCSF, and the American Federation for Children, which seeks to bring about K-12 education reform. 

About UCSF: The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals, as well as affiliations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF’s Department of Psychiatry, a national leader in child, adolescent, adult and geriatric mental health, is part of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.

Related Link:

$25 Million From Oberndorf Foundation To Advance UCSF Psychiatry, Neuroscience Research
February 11, 2016