Toyota Gift Supports Students, Faculty Mentors

April 14, 2008

Donation supports fellowships, internships, service, and teacher training

Santa Barbara, Calif. – The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is pleased to announce that Corporate Partner Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. has agreed to support the School with a four-year, $400,000 gift to provide student fellowships and internships, a professor-in-residence program, and a professional exchange program, all in the interest of forwarding environmental research, teaching, and education.

The gift establishes new structures that build upon the synergy between the Bren School, recognized as one of the top three graduate schools of Environmental Science & Management in the United States, and Toyota, a leading global automaker committed at the highest level to sustainable development that will benefit the environment, economy, and society. The gift reflects Toyota’s interest in providing the best education and training for the next generation of environmental leaders and teachers; its desire to bring the cutting-edge research performed at a leading academic institution of Environmental Science & Management to bear on environmental issues faced by Toyota and others within and beyond the automotive industry; and Toyota’s commitment to expanding environmental education around the world.

“I am thrilled to acknowledge Toyota’s generous and visionary gift to the Bren School,” said UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “It not only provides crucial funding to support the School in attracting the best and brightest students, but also funds important efforts toward expanding environmental education and awareness worldwide. By integrating research, mentoring, and professional training, this partnership represents the best kind of collaboration between business and higher education.”

The three components of the gift are as follows:

The establishment of highly competitive Toyota Environmental Science & Management Fellowships (Toyota Fellows). Funding will enable the School to attract more of the top master’s and PhD students from across the nation and around the world and will cover academic fees, books, and other graduate-education costs.

The establishment of an annual Toyota Summer Internship. Funding will support a qualified Master’s student who intends to make environmental education a focus of his or her professional life, to advance the goals of Toyota’s environmental initiatives and pursue environmental educational outreach within the Toyota International Teacher Program (TITP). TITP is one of Toyota’s major initiatives for the advancement of environmental education.

Programmatic support for a Professor-In-Residence program to enable Bren faculty to fulfill the university’s public service mission. Funding will enable faculty members to accompany secondary-school teachers from around the nation on study trips to such destinations as Costa Rica, the Galápagos Islands, Australia, and South Africa. The professors will assist in developing curricula and serve as facilitators, helping to connect the intellectual dots linking scientific research, the region of study, and relevant environmental issues.

As an international leader in high-caliber interdisciplinary research and teaching in such areas as climate impacts, policy, energy efficiency, materials, toxicology, waste-stream management, eco-technology and best practices, the Bren School is uniquely qualified to partner with Toyota in training Environmental Science & Management professionals. These next-generation leaders will spearhead efforts at Toyota, at other companies, and in other business sectors to develop innovative technologies, policies, and techniques to address climate change.

“This wonderful gift from Toyota underscores the value of our Corporate Partners Program, which brings great benefits to the Bren School, its students, and to environmentally astute organizations like Toyota, which are committed to making a real difference by accepting the challenges of re-creating industry within a vision of environmental sustainability,” said Bren School Dean Ernst von Weizsäcker. “Toyota is a visionary company – the leader in its field – and we are so pleased work in partnership with them.

During seven years as a Bren School Corporate Partner, Toyota has provided internships for 14 Bren students, hired two graduates as full-time employees, and been a client for a Group Project addressing sustainability issues in packaging at Toyota. During that time, it also created TITP, which will benefit greatly from the intellectual depth and scientific rigor provided by Bren School faculty and students.