Former San Diego aeronautical engineer Samuel L. Blasker had a strong passion for science and technology.

As he once described, “old problems require new thinking for resolution.” Samuel believed in encouraging and supporting innovative approaches to solve today’s critical problems.

While working for Convair, an American aircraft manufacturing company, Samuel saw firsthand the value of scientific innovation. He pioneered many of the aerospace technologies the world relies on today.

So when Samuel started planning for his future, it was only natural to establish a formal means to encourage and promote scientists like himself.

Before his passing, Samuel left an $8 million legacy endowment fund to San Diego Foundation (SDF) in his will. The fund was created to directly invest in current and future scientists who could significantly improve the quality of life in San Diego and the world.

Science & Technology Program

SDF established the Science & Technology Program to honor Samuel’s wishes to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to underrepresented young adults. Per Samuel’s charitable goals, the fund advances the frontiers of science across disciplines, including biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, oceanography, computer science, sociology and ethics.

Since 1999, the Science & Technology Program has granted over $10 million to support more than 2,579 scientists and engineers in partnership with more than 55 San Diego nonprofit organizations.

Grant projects address a broad spectrum of new technology through research and STEM education investments. For example, in the past decade, ultra-short pulsed lasers have opened the door to new advancements in precision medical surgery, communications and micromachining.

With support from the Science & Technology Program, Associate Professor of Physics at San Diego State University Matt Anderson, Ph. D., was able to advance research by developing a technique for creating and manipulating classical and quantum states of light that helped advance innovation and discovery in neuroscience.

SDSU Laser System
The Science & Technology Program helped SDSU Associate Professor Matt Anderson, Ph. D., advance research by developing a technique for creating and manipulating classical and quantum states of light.

“The grant provided me with a unique opportunity to build a world-class, ultra-fast laser facility at San Diego State University,” said Dr. Anderson.

He also leveraged the grant to attract extramural funding, publish papers, graduate students and attract significant collaborators. “It is a real pleasure for me to give something back to the people and students of San Diego, and it is largely due to the generous support of the Blasker Grants Program.”

Dr. Anderson’s work is one of many examples of the Science & Technology Program’s impact within the region.

Thanks to Samuel L. Blasker’s vision and SDF’s stewardship of his legacy gift, the region remains at the top of scientific growth and innovation.

Learn More about Legacy Funds