Bren Foundation Gift to Endow Multi-Campus
UC Graduate Program in Environmental Science & Management
University of California News
December 17, 1997
The University of California has received a $15 million
gift from the Donald Bren Foundation (Newport Beach, California) for
the endowment and operation of a significant multi-campus, interdisciplinary
program focusing greater resources on the prevention and solution of
"I see this as an opportunity to support the outstanding graduate school of Environmental Science & 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 Barbaras School of Environmental Science & 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 Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, recognizing the generous support of the Bren Foundation and our shared vision."
Jeff Dozier, dean of the renamed Bren School, said the schools 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 Barbaras 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 & 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 schools 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
"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 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 masters 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. Brens gift: "This is a marvelous commitment of Donald Brens continuing commitment to the University of California and the people of this state. His generosity and ingenuity will have a powerful lasting effect in advancing the universitys 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 Brens 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 has 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
"Since the environmental problems do not recognize
rigid boundaries of localities, politics or economics, the solutions
to them cannot either. So, it is particularly exciting for our law and
business faculty to be part of this interdisciplinary, multi-campus
approach to environmental education," said UC Berkeley Chancellor
"UC Irvine is pleased to join with our fellow
University of California campuses in contributing to the strengths of
this outstanding school," said the UC Irvine Chancellor Laurel
L. Wilkening. "The multi-campus aspects of this school demonstrate
the preeminence of the UC system in a broad range of topics vital to
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
In 1988, he initiated the Bren Fellows program to help UCI successfully compete for the nations best scholars and to achieve its goal to become one of the countrys 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 Brens vision, leadership, and highest commitment to quality," said Dr. Peltason. "It is his genius, as well as his passion as a conservationist, which has led 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."