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Trump decision to prevent Qualcomm takeover shocks UC San Diego, one of its big benefactors

UC San Diego executives expressed shock and joy Monday that President Trump is blocking the sale of San Diego chipmaker Qualcomm, one of the university’s biggest supporters.

Trump cited national security concerns in deciding to prevent Singapore-based Broadcom from buying Qualcomm.

"Holy cow! I didn't see that coming,” said Albert Pisano, dean of UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

“This seemed like a choreographed process. I didn't see anything to predict that this would happen. Let's sit tight to see what happens next. The decision might be challenged."

The president’s decision also elicited joy and caution from Henrik Christensen, director of the university’s Contextual Robotics Institute, which is about to use Qualcomm chips to test driverless golf carts on campus.

"This is good news, but it's not clear that the deal is dead,” said Christensen, who holds a professorship endowed by Qualcomm.

“Broadcom is going to register as a U.S. company. If they come back with a set of U.S. banks backing them up, it isn't clear that the government will have the power to intervene. It's interesting. We'll have to see what happens."

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla told the Union-Tribune on Monday evening, “This is clearly excellent for San Diego. And good for the country.”

Qualcomm is located across Interstate 5 from UC San Diego and is deeply involved in campus life. The company has given the university $54 million in donations and research grants since 2001. And Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan have given the university $286 million since the early 1980s.

The money has helped the university create the largest engineering school on the West Coast, and to support the university’s rise in the health sciences.

The support has earned the university the nickname, “UC Qualcomm.”

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