Mark and Pamela Rubin have been investing in Riverside for over 50 years. Beverly Hills-based property developer Mark Rubin first came to the region in the mid-1970s when he purchased 2,500 acres, an investment that would eventually grow to include housing and commercial developments stretching from Moreno Valley to downtown Riverside. When he passed away in 2021, he was remembered by his children as having three loves: “his family, his friends, and the city of Riverside — and not necessarily in that order.”
That love extended to UC Riverside. Mark and Pamela Rubin both served on the UC Riverside Foundation board of trustees and received the UCR Medallion in 2014. Their support for the university included gifts to help establish the Alumni & Visitors Center, the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT), and the Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies. The pair, who were married for over 60 years, were also instrumental in establishing the School of Medicine.
“When you can create something that the community at large needed, it just seemed like a natural fit for us to designate that money to the then-unapproved-but-wished-for UCR School of Medicine,” Pamela Rubin, former chair of the School of Medicine’s advisory board, said of their initial gift to the medical school in the early 2000s.
The Rubins adamantly supported the school’s mission to improve health care for medically underserved people in Inland Southern California, where doctor-to-patient ratios are far below national averages and recommendations. Their gifts to the school have included student scholarships and an endowed deanship.
That legacy is extended in the other causes the Rubins have supported, which include higher educational institutions, health care philanthropies, and arts organizations. The couple were also major supporters of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National WWII Museum, inspired by Mark Rubin’s experience as a Holocaust survivor and the lives and stories of all those lost. Like the Maimonides Endowed Chair they helped establish at UCR, the support of those institutions also shines a light on bigotry and intolerance today.
“I can’t take away what happened during the 1930s and ’40s, but I can hope that through education, people will understand it was extenuating circumstances during World War II, but antisemitism has never gone away, and it relates to what’s going on in today’s world as much as it did in the 1930s,” Pamela Rubin said.
Today’s world is also impacted by health care inequalities, which the Rubins worked to address through their investment in and advocacy for UCR.
“The Rubin family’s contributions have been of great benefit to the UCR School of Medicine,” Deas said. “Their ongoing support has allowed us to make a difference in our community and to meet the historic challenges before us while continuing to make great strides toward meeting our mission.”
For Pamela Rubin, this commitment fits her personal mission. “When my husband passed away, we put on his grave marker a saying that he absolutely believed in, ‘The most important value you have in your life is your good name,’ and for me, I told my kids that when it’s time to put one for me I want it to say, ‘Her family was her life,’ and that’s the truth,” she said. “I live and I’m happy to surround myself with people I love, and I don’t want anything from anybody. I only want to give funds to change people’s lives for the better.”