Ed Gillenwaters enjoys a notable leadership career that spans many sectors including government, finance, defense, higher education, life science innovation and research.
In 1995, Ed was recruited by Chancellor Dick Atkinson as UCSD’s Senior Director Special Projects where he served for 10 years. And for the next 10 years at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, he was Vice President, External Relations, where he developed key donor relationships and strategies yielding major and principal gifts, including the largest-ever philanthropic donation to any San Diego organization.
Ed is also founder of California’s first Economic Development Commission and served as founding Chairman and Treasurer of the Board of Directors for Integra Center.
Earlier in his career, Ed was U.S. Congressman Bob Wilson’s Administrative Assistant in Washington D.C. followed by Governor Ronald Reagan appointing him as his Deputy Director of California’s Department of Finance, and later as his Director of California’s Department of Commerce.
Ed experienced the gaps in healthcare on a very personal level as he walked with his wife of 62 years, Jane Gillenwaters, through the final stages of a terminal lung disease in the summer of 2017. After years of struggle and frustration, Jane and her family experienced a transformation to peace and comfort when she finally received honest, compassionate, integrated medical care and guidance that honored her personal choice. But it didn't occur until her very last weeks of life. That experience turned Ed into a passionate advocate for a more holistic and compassionate model of end-of-life care, largely as a way to honor Jane's amazing life and her legacy.