Above: Esther Capin, member of the SBS Advisory Board and the Magellan Circle. Photo by Lori Harwood.
Profile: Esther Capin
In the 1950s, Esther Capin was a student at UCLA when she met the man who would be her husband. She married Richard Capin and moved to his hometown of Nogales, Ariz., leaving her education behind. But the idea that she would finish her degree was never in question.
“I was very poor when I was “It was definitely a promise I made to myself,” said Capin.
When the youngest of her five children started school, Capin returned to college, finishing her bachelor’s degree in psychology and then obtaining her master’s in counseling from the UA.
But even when Capin was raising a family, she was involved extensively in local and statewide organizations. It was her role as a community leader that paved the way for her appointment to the Arizona Board of Regents. She was the first woman to serve two consecutive terms, and she also served as president twice during those 16 years. These experiences have made her a powerful advocate for SBS, the UA and higher education.
Capin has been a longtime supporter of SBS and is amazed at the variety and quality of all of the College’s units. She believes strongly in the College’s ability to attract friends because of the breadth of its academic research.
“I think of SBS as a garden of academic delights,” she said. “Many friends have been involved in ensuring the future growth of the College. They serve as models for others to discover that supporting a program in which one believes can benefit the donor as much as the recipient.”
Capin is involved with several colleges at the UA, including Fine Arts (she considers herself a “fine arts junkee”) and Education. In fact, Capin encouraged SBS to start the Magellan Circle after joining the giving circle in Fine Arts.
“Discretionary funds provided by donors are invaluable to deans,” said Capin.
“One of the best parts of being in these circles is having contact with students,” Capin added. “Hearing about student experiences is a winner every time.”
Capin is also an advocate for helping students handle the transition into college. This is due in part to her own struggles starting a new school when, as a child, she moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, and later when returning to college in her 40s. “We can lose a lot of students if we don’t make the University understandable to them and give help where it is needed,” Capin said.
To Capin, being involved in the University is integral to her commitment to work for the strength of the community.
“The University plays an important role in our community, but many people don’t realize what’s here,” said Capin. “Tucson would be a very different place without this strong Land Grant University in its midst. It has been my pleasure and a privilege to help shine a light on the academic riches at the UA.”