An International Perspective

Steve and Barbara Mendell

Steve and Barbara Mendell

“Those that can help create opportunities for others should do so,” said Steve Mendell ’63. The power of education inspired Steve and his wife, Barbara, to create the Mendell Award in Political Science, an annual scholarship that will be endowed through a bequest.

As a UC Santa Barbara student, Steve was involved in a range of activities, which included his fraternity, student government as class president, and intramural sports, where he won the wrestling championship. He chose to create a legacy with UC Santa Barbara and the Department of Political Science because he believes that one of our most important responsibilities is to educate future generations and help ensure a civil public discourse.

UC Santa Barbara’s political science program helped prepare Steve for his career in international business. After graduating in 1963, Steve studied French at the Defense Language Institute and was sent to Vietnam as an Army Intelligence Officer. A few years later, while stationed in San Diego, he met his wife, Barbara. Steve and Barbara were married in Belgium, where Steve led the counterintelligence section at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

After attending graduate school, Steve joined the international division of Becton Dickinson, a large medical technology company. In the following years, Steve and Barbara moved many times in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America while adding two sons, Brooks and Loren, to their family.

Since returning to California, Steve has been CEO of several medical and biopharmaceutical companies. Now retired, Steve enjoys helping others and has served as chairman or board member of numerous organizations, including the Chairman’s Roundtable and the Young Presidents Organization Gold Chapter in San Diego. He has remained deeply involved with UCSB, serving as a former chair and longtime trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation and as a member of the Alumni Association’s board of directors. Steve is currently the co-chair of the San Diego Leadership Committee, helping to expand the network of Gauchos in this region.

If you want to help create opportunities for others, we would be glad to help you craft a plan. Please reach out to Ilana Ormond at or 805-893-5556 to get started.