Dear friends and family of the Jack W. Peltason Center for the Study of Democracy,
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Suzanne Toll Peltason, a lifelong member of the UCI community with her husband, Jack. From Jack’s work – and Suzie’s unwavering support - as a founding member of the board of the Center for the Study of Democracy to the couple’s donation of a substantial portion of their UC retirement fund to endow scholarships within the center, Suzie played an immeasurable role in the seeds, support and successes of the center that now bears her husband’s namesake.
She was an equal part of the team that helped to build UC Irvine as a great university during Jack’s rise through campus leadership ranks, and she played an especially important role in developing a sense of community among the faculty and employees of UCI. When the campus celebrated its 25th anniversary, she authored UCI: The First 25 Years as a testament to what had been achieved. In 1999 the Peltason Lecture was established to honor Jack and Suzanne. In 2007, an anonymous donor gifted $1 million to establish The Jack W. Peltason Endowed Chair, honoring the couple who changed countless lives with their ingenuity, grace and goodwill.
In fall 2016, CSD was officially renamed the Jack W. Peltason Center for the Study of Democracy, honoring both Jack and Suzie's interest in and commitment to the study of democratic government. Suzanne and Jack’s generosity and vision has positively impacted the careers of a generation of faculty, graduate students, and affiliates of the Center. Their gifts to our center will continue to support graduate student fellowships and the public Peltason lecture series, carrying forward their shared commitment to research, education and public outreach at UCI.
More information about Suzie’s life and legacy can be found here. Please join me in offering condolences to her surviving family: children Nancy Elliott, of Bakersfield, California, and Evanston, Illinois; Tim Peltason, of Wellesley, Massachusetts; and Jill Redding, of Lorton, Virginia; her seven grandchildren; and her 13 great-grandchildren.
Director, Jack W. Peltason Center for the Study of Democracy
Associate Professor, Political Science
University of California, Irvine