Service and Commitment
Betty Elings Wells H’10, a successful real estate investor, property manager and entrepreneur with a long history of philanthropy to the campus and the broader community, is the new chairperson of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees.
An elected trustee since 2013, Wells assumes the role of chair as the foundation also welcomes five new members — all UC Santa Barbara alumni — for the 2019-2020 academic year. Rafael Costas ’86, Alexander Fang ’05 ’08, Lori Konsker ’90, Hiro Kozato ’85 and Huican Zhu ’00 join the leadership body that promotes the university by increasing philanthropy and managing and growing the endowment.
“I’ve been affiliated with the university for over 50 years and I’m honored to serve on the UC Santa Barbara Foundation as the board chair,” Wells said. “I’ve been a trustee for six years and continue to be inspired by the committed work and support of our trustees as a fundraising board. Their philanthropic leadership and impact is to be commended, along with the many loyal donors to our campus who have helped build the university’s world-class reputation.
Said Chancellor Henry T. Yang, “What a tremendous honor it is that five of our alumni are giving back to our UC Santa Barbara family through service on our Foundation Board. Their individual strengths, interests and commitment will further elevate our board, and we so look forward to their valuable contributions. We are also excited for the visionary leadership and guidance of our incoming board chair, honorary alumna Betty Elings Wells. Betty is a special longstanding benefactor of our university and our community whose business acumen, genuine care for our students and down-to-earth connection with others will inspire our trustees as they work together to advance our great institution.”
At UC Santa Barbara, Wells has been a member of the Faculty Women’s Club, now the Shoreliners, for 52 years and has served two terms as president. Her generosity to the campus includes major contributions to the UC Santa Barbara California Nanosystems Institute/Elings Hall, the Club & Guest House, renovation project, the Research Experience and Education Facility (REEF) at the Marine Science Institute, the North Campus Open Space project and student philanthropy initiatives including UCSB First.
“I’ve had such wonderful exposure to many areas on campus and one thing stands out — the extraordinary students,” said Wells, a member of the foundation’s Gold Circle Society. “I hope during my term as chair to help further encourage student support for both graduates and undergraduates, from all backgrounds, across all divisions and colleges, creating our world’s leaders for the future. UC Santa Barbara graduates are our next promising leaders to address the growing workforce in California, the nation and globally — individuals who can wisely shape and inform our nation’s communities in many ways.”
As UC Santa Barbara’s principal fundraising organization, the nonprofit foundation generates and administers private gifts to the campus, including support for students, research and instruction. It also ensures the appropriate use of all private funds.
Helping to forge links between the professional and business communities and the campus to increase private support for university programs, the foundation plays a critical role in promoting and achieving fundraising goals and priorities. The board consists of philanthropic leaders sharing a commitment to advance UC Santa Barbara’s mission and sustain its reputation for excellence.
More about the new trustees for the 2019–2020 year:
• Rafael R. Costas ’86 — Senior vice-president, co-director, municipal bond department, Franklin Templeton Investments (retired); finance committee member of SFJAZZ, UC Santa Barbara Economics Board of Advisors, Lancaster Society, Legacy Circle (San Francisco, Pacific Grove)
• Alexander W. Fang ’05 ’08 — Co-founder, managing partner, Entrada Ventures; co-founder, former chief executive officer and board director, Aurrion (Santa Barbara, California)
• Lori C. Konsker ’90 — Chief executive officer, Viigii, ecommerce eGifting application; Chairman of the board, Children’s Ability Center of Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options (Boca Raton, Florida)
• Fumihiro Kozato ’85 — Chief executive officer and president, Techpoint; former chief executive officer and president, Techwell; former president, Sigmax; former business control manager, Ricoh (Saratoga, Calif.)
• Huican Zhu ’00 — Founder, managing partner, AMINO Capital; former chief architect, general manager of infrastructure, Tencent; former senior staff engineer and senior manager, Google; board member, Innogrit, Anchain and Cloudfort; president, Zhu Family Foundation (Saratoga, Calif.)
Wells and former spouse Virgil Elings together launched numerous successful entrepreneurial ventures including Digital Instruments (DI), which pioneered the development of atomic force and scanning probe microscopes that led to a scientific revolution at the nanoscale. DI was acquired by Veeco Instruments Inc. in 1999.
A resident of Goleta, Wells’s philanthropy in the broader Santa Barbara community includes the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, Elings Park and the Elings Aquatic Center at Dos Pueblos High School. She recently completed the Solvang Alisal Vacation Cottages in downtown Solvang, which feature four Craftsmen style cottages that represent Solvang’s heritage and are an idyllic destination for visitors.
“Our new trustees, all alumni, each bring unique professional experience to complement our existing board,” said Beverly Colgate, executive director of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation. “We look forward to partnering with them on moving the campus forward into further excellence. We are so grateful for their leadership and time. It is truly an honor to work with Chair Betty Wells and all of these new trustees.”
The UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees includes up to 100 elected distinguished trustees and 14 additional university representatives, and complies with the University of California Policy on Campus Foundations set by the Regents of the University of California. From its inception in 1973, members of the foundation’s board have formed a valuable link between UC Santa Barbara and the local, regional and national communities. As they encourage private gifts and identify and cultivate potential donors, trustees build interest and support for the campus and communicate to the public an informed understanding of UC Santa Barbara’s mission.