Donor Profile: Leslie and Linda Koepplin

"Any gift to UCLA has to include a tithe for the Library," said Leslie Koepplin, recounting how he and his wife, Linda, decided to establish a collection endowment.

After the Koepplins created a graduate fellowship in U.S. immigrant history, it only made sense. “If you’re going to give to research, you need to give to research resources as well,” he explained.

Part of the inspiration for their gift stems from Leslie’s own family history: His grandparents arrived at Ellis Island from Germany at the turn of the twentieth century. And part stems from his desire to give back: He was able to complete his doctorate in history at UCLA with the support of the Senator William Andrews Clark Graduate Fellowship.

Aside from studying in UCLA’s libraries, Leslie learned about them from the inside. “My mother was a librarian,” he explained. “And I worked at the Clark during my first two years at UCLA.” 

Linda also has a deep connection with UCLA and its main research library. She worked for several years in the Center for Information Services, which had its oces on the second floor of the then-named University Research Library.

“Why should staff give back?” she asked. “I built my career on what I learned while I worked for UCLA, and I want to enable others to begin successful careers here as well.”

Linda and Leslie credit their family backgrounds for their success in life.

“We both come from immigrant families,” he explained. “And we both took advantage of public education, so we know how important high-quality public universities are.” 

Now they’re investing in the future of one of the world’s great public universities, its current and future students and faculty, and its renowned library. To encourage others to follow in their footsteps, Linda offered a reminder.

“People may think they don’t have that kind of money, but gifts to the Library of any kind, in any amount, support students.”