Distinguished Professors Establish the Georgiou and Foufoula Endowed Graduate Student Award

Tryphon Georgiou and Efi Foufoula

Oct. 31, 2022 - Two UCI Distinguished Professors - Tryphon Georgiou and Efi Foufoula - have made a generous gift to support students at the Samueli School of Engineering.

The couple have donated $100,000 to create an endowed fund and establish the Georgiou and Foufoula Endowed Graduate Student Award. The purpose is to support incoming graduate students who are majors in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering or the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgiou and Foufoula’s respective home departments at the school of engineering. The award will be given with a focus on research excellence and on students from underrepresented minority groups. In recognition of the importance of the fellowship to reward and motivate students along their path to learning, UCI will provide an annual match for a period of 10 years, doubling the amount of support for students.

“As distinguished scholars and valued members of the engineering school, Tryphon and Efi’s investment in our graduate students is not only meaningful but deeply appreciated,” said Samueli School Dean Magnus Egerstedt. “Their support ensures our students have the resources necessary to solve global challenges and pursue important research.”

Georgiou and Foufoula joined the UCI faculty in 2016, and Foufoula currently serves as the Samueli School’s associate dean for research.

"Efi and I have seen firsthand over the years the creative energy that such a small gesture can unleash in students on their path toward lifelong learning and excellence,” said Georgiou. “The endowment is a small payback to the university ecosystem that has given us so much satisfaction over the years."

“I have fond memories of the first fellowship I received as an undergraduate, almost 45 years ago, not for the money but for what it meant to me as a recognition of my hard work and potential. Meeting the awardees and hearing their stories and aspirations is always touching,” said Foufoula, recounting the experience with a similar fellowship that they established at their previous institution.

- Lori Brandt