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UCI Renames Computer Science School in Honor of Bren

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OC Metro Staff — June 10, 2004

$20 MILLION GIFT UC Irvine benefactor Donald Bren, chairman of The Irvine Co., will have UC Irvine’s School of Information and Computer Science named after him, the university announced this month. Debra J. Richardson has been named Dean of the renamed school.

Bren made a then-anonymous $20 million gift to the program last December, equaling the largest gift ever to UCI.

The campus event was scheduled for June 9.

“His transformational gift is helping to create a national model for information and computer science research and education, and further strengthens UC Irvine’s position among the nation’s best research universities,” said Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone in a statement.

Also, ground was broken for the school’s new, 6-story, 138,000-square-foot research and classroom facility. Much of the building is being financed by Propositions 55 and 47, which provide funds to build, repair, and improve the state’s public education facilities. Bren Hall will be completed in 2006.

Bren’s $20 million gift, made through the Donald L. Bren Foundation, provides more than $18 million to create 10 endowed chairs for the faculty. This will enable UCI to compete for the world’s top computer scientists. The first hires, each of whom will have the title of Donald Bren Professor, are expected soon, the university announced.

In a March 6, 2003 cover story in OC METRO Magazine, Bren explained his interest in UCI. “I’m not certain many people in Orange County fully appreciate the economic, intellectual, artistic and social stimulus that UCI represents in our region. It really is a remarkable institution.”

“Over time, I believe UCI’s prominent role as a major catalyst for economic growth will be better understood and appreciated.”

As part of that profile, OC METRO Magazine broke down some of the larger gifts Bren made prior to his $20 million gift this past December. The information, which didn’t make it into the published profile, noted:

“The Donald Bren Endowment, unveiled in August 1988, aims to ‘enhance excellence in scholarship, research and creative achievement at UCI,'” the company and university announced at the time. Then-Chancellor Jack Peltason announced that the endowment “will allow (UCI) to rank among the major universities in the world.” It also was the start of University Research Park that helps tie the university to the private sector in jobs and research. Some of the major gifts:

  • Bren Fellows Program: $10.5 million
  • Claire Trevor School of the Arts: $7.452 million
  • Bren Events Center: $1 million