BREN FOUNDATION GIFT TO ENDOW MULTI-CAMPUS UC GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT
Date: December 17, 1997
Contact: Eileen Conrad (805) 893-8726; Jennifer Hieger (949) 720-2681
The University of California has received a $15 million gift from the Donald Bren Foundations (Newport Beach, California) for the endowment and operation of a significant multi-campus, interdisciplinary program focusing greater resources on the prevention and solution of environmental problems.
“I see this as an opportunity to support the outstanding graduate school of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara, and give it the ability to be connected with and benefit from the disciplines of law, business management and public policy that exist at other UC campuses,” said Mr. Bren, the chairman of The Irvine Company in Orange County, California. “It will also allow MBA and law school students in the UC system to access the environmental curriculum at UCSB.
“This is an exciting concept that will bring greater talent and resources to the study of our worldwide environmental problems, and more sophistication and discipline as solutions are proposed and implemented by business and government,” he added.
The multi-campus graduate program will be designed and administered by UC Santa Barbara’s School of Environmental Science and Management. It will also involve natural and social science faculty from UC Santa Barbara, business school faculty from UC Irvine, UCLA and UC Berkeley, and law school faculty from Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley.
“Mr. Bren has a deep passion and conviction for a better environment in which we all live,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. “His vision is shared by our faculty. We are very pleased that our school will be named the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, recognizing the generous support of the Bren Foundation and our shared vision.”
Jeff Dozier, dean of the renamed Bren School, said the school’s joint graduate degree programs will be able to combine a strong, scientific, interdisciplinary curriculum with substantive components in policy, management and law.
“The Bren School will couple Santa Barbara’s extraordinary strengths in the natural sciences with expertise throughout the UC system,” Dozier said. “This multi-campus program will become the central, seminal institution in the new field of environmental science and management, setting the tone and direction for progress in this emerging and important field worldwide.”
Funds from the gift will be used to support chairs for five Bren Fellows, up to ten faculty scholars, conferences, visiting lecturers and other activities.
Dennis J. Aigner, former dean of the Graduate School of Management at UC Irvine will be the school’s Associate Dean for Business Management; John P. Dwyer of the School of Law at UC Berkeley will be the Associate Dean for Law and Public Policy.
Students in the Bren School in Santa Barbara will have access to courses in law and management unavailable on the Santa Barbara campus. UC MBA students in the business schools will have a program in corporate environmental management; law school students will have access to science faculty to enhance their program in environmental law.
“The multi-campus aspect of the Bren School will take advantage of the great academic strengths from throughout the University of California and will produce a program unequalled in the United States,” Dozier added. “I expect that our graduates will be equipped to make important discoveries, decisions and contributions involving environmental public policy and business management.”
Graduates will have a fundamental understanding of local, regional and global environmental systems and issues, and will be prepared to interpret, design and implement governmental or industrial policy that impacts the environment.
The Bren School accepted its first master’s degree students in the fall of 1996. A Ph.D. program is under review and is expected to be approved this year.
Meredith J. Khachigian, chairman of the UC Board of Regents and a graduate of the Santa Barbara campus, said of Mr. Bren’s gift: “This is a marvelous commitment of Donald Bren’s continuing commitment to the University of California and the people of this state. His generosity and ingenuity will have a powerful and lasting effect in advancing the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service. I am deeply grateful to Mr. Bren and extremely proud that UCSB will be the home of this exciting new venture.”
UC President Richard C. Atkinson thanked Mr. Bren for his long-standing and generous support of the University of California.
“The uniqueness of Donald Bren’s most recent gift is that it will assist not just one, but five UC campuses, and ultimately should have wide-ranging significance for the environment,” Atkinson said. “The people of California will benefit for years to come from his many extraordinary contributions to higher education.”
With this gift, the University of California will have 15 endowed Bren Fellows, representing the largest number of endowed chairs from a single donor to the university system.
“The vision and generosity of Mr. Bren have laid the foundation for the success of our unique, world-class Bren School,” said Chancellor Yang. “We are now poised at the forefront of research and education to prepare cross-disciplinary scientists, government and business leaders to overcome the environmental challenges of the next millennium.”
“Since environmental problems do not recognize rigid boundaries of localities, politics or economies, the solutions to them cannot either. So, it is particularly exciting for our law and business faculty to be part of the interdisciplinary, multi-campus approach to environmental education.” Said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl.
“UC Irvine is pleased to join with our fellow University of California campuses in contributing to the strengths of this outstanding school,” said UC Irvine Chancellor Laurel L. Wilkening. “The multi-campus aspects of this school demonstrate the pre-eminence of the UC system in a broad range of topics vital to society.”
The Donald Bren Foundation was incorporated in 1986 as a private philanthropic organization. It was chartered by Mr. Bren to further his lifetime interests in education, scientific research, the visual arts and conservation. Its president is Jack Peltason, president emeritus of the University of California.
Mr. Bren is a long-standing contributor to the UC Irvine campus, which was built on 1000 acres of land donated by The Irvine Company.
In 1988, he initiated the Bren Fellows program to help UCI successfully compete for the nation’s best scholars and to achieve its goal to become one of the country’s premier research universities. To date, 10 Bren Fellows have been created at UCI. Each is supported by a $1 million endowment.
The first two endowed Bren Fellows at UCI were Nobel Laureate F. Sherwood Rowland and Francisco Ayala, the internationally noted evolutionary biologist.
Further, Mr. Bren and The Irvine Company have made numerous contributions to help create the Bren Events Center, the Irvine Barclay Theater on campus and the Beckman Laser Institute, as well as support the Graduate School of Management and the UCI Foundation.
The Irvine Company, which is more than 130 years old, owns The Irvine Ranch, which once totaled 200 square miles in central Orange County. The company has pioneered and advanced the art of large scale community planning and development in California.
Mr. Bren is recognized as a master builder with a national reputation for leadership and innovation in the master planning and building of major new communities in Orange County, and in residential and commercial development in other areas of California. A lifelong conservationist and outdoorsman, Mr. Bren has a deep personal interest in the conservation of environmentally sensitive open space and habitats that has led to commitments by The Irvine Company to protect large areas of sensitive land in Orange County.
In a 1992 alliance with the Nature Conservancy, The Irvine Company created the 17,000-acre Irvine Company Open Space Reserve. In 1996, the company committed to set aside 21,000 environmentally sensitive acres on The Irvine Ranch under a landmark agreement with federal, state and county governments that has been cited as a model for effective preservation of endangered and threatened species.
“The superb quality of life that we enjoy in Irvine and Newport Beach can be traced directly to Donald Bren’s vision, leadership and highest commitment to quality,” said Dr. Peltason. “It is his genius, as well as his passion as a conservationist, which has lead to the creative and far-sighted program announced today. It will draw on the immense resources and talents of the entire university to address an area of singular importance to all of us.”