Dr. Henry T. Nicholas Surprises UC-Irvine Men's and Women's Crew Teams with $40,000 Pledge to Send them to Upcoming National Rowing Meet

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., March 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- At a ceremony on Saturday attended by supporters of UC-Irvine crew and team members, philanthropist Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III announced that he would close the gap on fundraising that ensures UCI's men's and women's crew members will be participating in the 2018 American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta in Georgia this May. 

With the cost of sending the teams and their boats to Georgia at about $45,000, and with $4,000 raised at Saturday's luncheon, silent auction and award ceremony, which followed the Henry T. Nicholas III-UC Challenge Cup Regatta in Newport Harbor, the Nicholas gift amounted to approximately $40,000, surprising and delighting student crew members.

"Crew is a sport that gets very little glory, but requires tremendous commitment, heart and character," Nicholas said after the lunch ceremony. "I like to support unsung heroes who succeed through hard work, discipline and teamwork, and we saw all of those qualities at today's Regatta. I am extremely proud of all of the superb scholar-athletes who competed and gave it their all, and I am especially proud of the UCI crew teams. They deserve to go to Nationals and compete with the best." 

Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom and a major philanthropist, has been a long-time supporter of UCI crew, donating more than $1 million to the program. He has been a major force behind a major state-wide rowing competition, the Henry T. Nicholas III-UC Challenge Cup Regatta in Newport Harbor,  that brings together teams from several University of California campuses. 

In addition to his support for UCI crew, Nicholas is a co-founder of  the Nicholas Academic Centers, based in Santa Anaand attended by high students who receive academic tutoring, counseling, and assistance with college applications with the goal of becoming college-eligible and receiving scholarships. 

On Saturday, dozens of the Centers' excited students, many of whom had never been on a boat, watched the Regatta from an observation boat as part of the Centers' efforts to enrich its scholars outside of the classroom as well.

This year's Regatta included men's and women's teams from UCI, UC-Santa Barbara, UC-San Diego, UCLA and UC-Davis. UCI's men's and women's teams each took third places, with UC-SB's  men's and women's teams each taking first.  

Crew is the first and oldest ongoing competitive sport at UCI. Founding Chancellor Dan Aldrich started the program, which is now in its 52nd year. UCI Men's Crew Coach Austin Brooks, whose salary is paid by the Friends of UCI Rowing, has built the UCI club program from a dozen students a few years ago to more than 50 now.

"The growing strength of our program over the last several years is in large part due to the tremendous support of Dr. Henry Nicholas and our other supporters who share a passion for crew," Brooks said. "We are extremely grateful to our supporters. My rowers were ecstatic when they heard they would be going to Nationals."

Saturday's Regatta Results: Men's Varsity Crew: 1: UC-Santa Barbara; 2: UC-San Diego; 3: UC-Irvine; 4: UCLA; 5: UC-Davis / Women's Varsity Crew: 1: UC-Santa Barbara; 2: UC-San Diego; 3: UC-Irvine.