Stacey Nicholas' Opus Foundation donated the money to further STEM related education, the college announced Friday.
"I am so happy and so honored to be a part of the engineering school at UCI," she said in a news release.
Nicholas is a member of the Samueli School's Engineering Leadership Council and Diversity Advisory Board, a trustee at St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, and a former member of the South Coast Repertory and Pacific Symphony boards, the release stated.
The money will be used to support Academic Innovation & Research in Engineering, an outreach program for K-12 and community college students that promotes interest in STEM subjects.
The donation will also fund need-based scholarships for engineering graduate and undergraduate students.
A total of $500,000 will be used to create a study area in the school for students.
"This gift will allow the Samueli School to engage more students in an experiential learning approach, and that is what will ultimately give UCI engineers a competitive advantage," said Gregory Washington, dean of the school.
— Hannah Fry