“Orange County looks like Orange County…because of the influence of Bren.”
— The Los Angeles Times

Philanthropic Highlights

  • Endowed more than 60 permanent distinguished professor chairs at the University of California and California Institute of Technology.
  • Initiated and funded Caltech’s Space Solar Power Project.
  • Generously supported one of the nation’s first graduate-level environmental schools, the UC Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.
  • Initiated the University of California’s first dedicated school of computer science, the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, at University of California, Irvine.
  • Gifted more than 57,500 acres for permanently preserved open space, creating the largest urban open space and parklands network in the United States. It is the only land in California to receive both the California State and United States National Natural Landmark designation.


    • University of California Presidential Medal
    • California Institute of Technology’s Highest Honor
    • Marine Corps University Foundation’s General Leonard F. Chapman Jr. Medal
    • American Academy of Arts & Sciences Fellow


    Donald Bren Biography Photo for Download

“His action guarantees that the rocky outcroppings, deep canyons, fern grottoes and even a rare grove of Tecate cypress trees will go undisturbed in perpetuity.” — Sunset Magazine
“His contributions to the University of California system to the advancement of knowledge and the improvement of our quality of life have been nothing short of extraordinary.” — Mary Rita Cooke Greenwood, former UC provost
“Donald Bren has not only transformed the urban landscape of California, he has transformed the intellectual landscape of the California Institute of Technology.” — Caltech University President Thomas Rosenbaum