Business leader and philanthropist Donald Bren awarded UC Presidential Medal
Date: Irvine, Calif. , June 9, 2004
Contacts: Michelle Williams (949) 824-1562; Jennifer Heiger (949) 720-2681
Donald Bren, chairman of The Irvine Company, today was awarded the University of California Presidential Medal, recognizing his significant contributions to UC and higher education. The medal is the university’s highest honor.
UC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs M.R.C. Greenwood presented the medal to Bren on behalf of UC President Robert Dynes at a midday ceremony celebrating the naming of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UC Irvine. The school naming recognizes Bren’s $20 million gift to ICS in December 2003, which provides for the creation of 10 endowed chairs for distinguished faculty, among other school support.
“For well over two decades, Mr. Bren’s focus on the creation of endowment funds to support faculty chairs has helped bring to the University of California some of the best researchers and scholars in the nation and the world,” said Dynes. “He has contributed more to support endowed chairs than any single donor in UC history, and his passionate philanthropy and commitment to educational excellence have helped strengthen the university. We are proud to bestow upon him this honor.”
The Presidential Medal was established in 1997 to recognize extraordinary contributions to the UC system or the community of learning. Past recipients include former Gov. George Deukmejian, late UC President Emeritus Clark Kerr, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León and noted physicist and director emeritus of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Edward Teller. Recipients from Orange County have included former UCI Chancellor Laurel L. Wilkening and Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Samueli.
Privately and through his Donald Bren Foundation, The Irvine Company and related entities, Bren has directed more than $55 million to support UC programs, with the majority going to the Irvine and Santa Barbara campuses. The latter is home to the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, where Bren’s support helped establish interdisciplinary approaches for researching, teaching about and solving environmental problems.
At UCI, his support created the Donald Bren Endowment, which has helped attract and retain distinguished faculty in the arts and sciences, including such internationally recognized scholars as Nobel Prize-winning chemist F. Sherwood Rowland, National Medal of Science recipient Francisco Ayala and world-renowned choreographer Donald McKayle. Other UCI beneficiaries include the Claire Trevor School of the Arts — named after Bren’s late stepmother, the Academy Award-winning actress — Beckman Laser Institute, Bren Events Center and Graduate School of Management.
Bren’s commitment to quality education extends beyond UC to significant support for Caltech, Chapman University, the Marine Corps University and K-12 education in Orange County.
Born in Los Angeles, Bren was raised there and in Newport Beach. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from the University of Washington, where he also pursued graduate studies in business. Subsequently, he served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has been chairman of The Irvine Company since 1983.
About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with approximately 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,300 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.