Robert Duggan Gives Back to University

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Robert “Bob” Duggan, Billionaire CEO of Cancer-Fighting Biotech Firm, Gives Commencement Speech and Financial Support to the University of California Santa Barbara

Decades after his final exam, Robert “Bob” Duggan returned to his alma mater, the University of California Santa Barbara, to address graduating students with an inspirational commencement speech. This speech is now available for viewing online on YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion.

In his address, Duggan advised graduates to “be prepared to adjust and improvise, and to recognize that defeat is a steppingstone. Be humble in your successes and always give honor to those that came before you and provided you the hard-won knowledge that you now use to make your own success.”

Robert Duggan studied economics at UCSB with the class of 1966. The founder of several successful businesses, Duggan has been described as the "consummate entrepreneur." While his enthusiasm for investing sprang from a corporate finance class he took at UCSB, it would take more than four decades for him to strike gold with biotech firm Pharmacyclics Inc.

In the past year, Pharmacyclics has gained “breakthrough therapy” recognition and two approvals from the FDA for treating cancer. The company’s drug, Imbruvica, has been approved for the treatment of specific types of leukemia and lymphoma. Imbruvica is providing a great deal of hope for patients with these forms of cancer.

Now a billionaire, Duggan stays connected to his roots. He and his wife, Trish Duggan, have contributed to the UC Santa Barbara Athletics Program, College of Engineering and also the world-class Religious Studies Department. Duggan has been a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation since 1989. The Duggans are also members of UCSB’s Lancaster Society.

Robert Duggan, or Bob as he is better known, stated that his education at UCSB helped him develop the tools he needed to become a successful businessman and more recently, a philanthropist. An important part of his success is his desire to work for the “greater good,” and to have an impact through giving.

Bob has a strong work ethic and, in fact, has been earning money since the age of 10. His life story is a testament to the value of education. Bob says that UCSB was his launching pad, a place where he made connections with important peers that continue to this day.

He collaborated with college friends in starting his first business venture while he was still a student. And years later, Bob teamed up with another UCSB alumnus on a company called Computer Motion, now Intuitive Surgical, which revolutionized computer-aided and robotic surgery using technology developed at UCSB.

Bob and his wife Trish Duggan have expanded their impact as caring parents and have grown their family by adopting six children. They both believe strongly in the importance of giving of their time and talents as well as their money.

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