UCLA alum and longtime benefactor Morton La Kretz donated another $15 million toward renovation of the Westwood campus’ Botany Building, padding the $5 million he previously gave to the project, the university announced Monday.
In recognition of the donation, the building will be renamed the La Kretz Botany Building in honor of the 1948 UCLA grad and founder of the Crossroads Management real estate company.
“This generous gift will provide exceptional resources and opportunities to faculty and students doing vital research in conservation and plant biology,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “Thanks to Morton La Kretz’s extraordinary generosity, the La Kretz Botany Building will become a world-class research facility and first-rate training ground for future scientific leaders.”
The renovation project is scheduled to be completed in January 2022 and will include a refurbished entryway, upgraded teaching and research labs and a “new technologically enabled class lab.”
“It is so satisfying to give young people an education that will enable them to focus on the pressing environmental and conservation issues of our time,” La Kretz, 92, said in a statement released by the university.
In recognition of prior gifts to the university, La Kretz’s name already adorns the La Kretz Hall, which is home to the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, located in the Santa Monica Mountains; and the La Kretz Garden Pavilion at the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.