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Students working in a lab with a microscope

Curiosity and Collaboration

The Roy and Janet Hardiman Interdisciplinary Chair in Molecular Biology 

As an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara, Roy Hardiman ’81,’83 took every opportunity to follow his curiosity. He studied filmmaking, physics, electrical engineering, and biology before pharmacology captured his imagination with its distinct blend of anatomy, physiology, and chemistry. That same desire for integrative work is what inspired Roy, now a UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustee, to establish the Roy and Janet Hardiman Interdisciplinary Chair in Molecular Biology, an endowed position that will attract top scholars to the university. 

In his senior year, Roy took a pharmacology class that met for a weekly eight-hour lab and required intense write-ups. He loved it and went on to do a work study in the pharmacology lab of late Professor Jean Devlin. With Jean’s leadership, UC Santa Barbara established the first undergraduate major in pharmacology in the country. Roy and his wife, Janet, have supported the Jean Devlin Initiative in honor of her impact over 25 years on campus.

“Professor Devlin’s interdisciplinary approach appealed to me and set my course into biotechnology,” Roy said. “The experience also opened my eyes to the societal changes that biotechnology and genetic engineering would create — which is why I ultimately got a law degree. Her lab introduced me to the biotechnology pharmaceutical industry. It really was that experience at UC Santa Barbara that motivated a lot of my philanthropy.” 

After earning his bachelor’s in pharmacology and master’s in biology from UC Santa Barbara, Roy attained a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law and spent over 30 years in biotechnology. The field is broad and team-oriented, which Roy values. He sees the same interdisciplinary collaboration in UC Santa Barbara scholars.

“With a really strong chemistry program and a strong biology program, UC Santa Barbara is well set up to do important work in the pharmacology, chemistry, and drug design fields, even without a medical school,” said Roy. “I wanted to endow a chair that would bring those disciplines together.”

“I am thrilled by the opportunity that the new Roy and Janet Hardiman Interdisciplinary Chair in Molecular Biology presents,” said Pierre Wiltzius, executive dean of the College of Letters and Science and Susan & Bruce Worster Dean of Science. “It will allow us to continue on our path to hire outstanding faculty. As an alumnus from UC Santa Barbara, Roy has been an extremely strong supporter of his alma mater. I have personally enjoyed and am grateful for his advice as a member of the Sciences Dean’s Cabinet over the past ten years.” 

In a time of rapid vaccine achievements, Roy sees pharmacology as an answer to the question of healthcare in a pandemic at both the university and layperson level.

“Continuing to support the sciences when science is being diminished by rumor is important,” said Roy. “There is a groundswell against science that will have a dramatic worldwide impact on humanity. I’m giving to UC Santa Barbara to help foster therapeutics in interdisciplinary areas, and science education is going to be an important element of that.” 

Roy and Janet have been longtime supporters of the sciences, pharmacology and molecular biology, bioengineering, and the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Roy also serves as a member of the Dean’s Cabinet for the Division of Science at UC Santa Barbara and has served as a trustee since 2012.

“We all owe a debt of gratitude to the places and people that have made a difference in our lives,” said Roy. “It’s been a rewarding journey as my career has progressed and we have progressed in our ability to give.”