Michael J. Connell Memorial Fund

Michael J. Connell was born in Ireland in 1854 and immigrated to the U.S. as a young man, where he enjoyed significant financial success in retail, mining, real estate, and banking. He incorporated the Michael J. Connell Charities, Ltd. in 1931 (which ultimately became the Michael J. Connell Foundation) to manage his broad philanthropic  interests in the arts and education. But one cause, the environment, was especially dear to him. Following his passing in 1936, the Michael J. Connell Memorial Fund was established as an independent trust, and the income dedicated to the University of California, with no specific direction as to its use.

Recently, Richard Wilson, the only remaining trustee who has a familial connection to Mr. Connell, determined that the Bren School should ultimately be the beneficiary of the trust. As a lifelong conservationist, Mr. Wilson has devoted much of his productive energies toward utilizing natural resources in a sustainable way so that a given landscape can be productive for the economic benefit of its inhabitants.

Mr. Wilson said, “I was keenly interested in shifting the benefit of these funds to the Bren School due to its underlying principle of bringing together the disciplines of environmental science, business management, policy, and law. I know Michael J. Connell would have been interested in this from his perspective in a different era, so I feel that this support to the Bren School carries forward his vision and is quite appropriate.” With great appreciation to Mr. Wilson, the courtyard at Bren Hall was dedicated to the memory and legacy of Michael J. Connell.

Zurich Funds Distinguished Visitors

The Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors program allows the Bren School to host international leaders in environmental policy, law, business, and science to enrich and expand the intellectual life of the Bren School community and share insight on issues critical to climate change. Activities of the visitors, who are in residence for periods ranging from one week to one quarter, include teaching short courses, offering public lectures, conducting seminars, and leading colloquia and symposia planned around their research, professional endeavors, or areas of expertise.

Walton Fellowships

Latin American Fishery Fellows (LAFF)

In 2010, a gift from the Walton Family Foundation established the Latin American Fishery Fellows program (LAFF) to support fisheries research and train leaders who are committed to pursuing relevant careers in the region. LAFF offers a rich education in science, economics, policy, and law, augmented by specialized training in market-based sustainable fisheries management and marine conservation. Fellows, who are committed to return to Latin America to lead sustainable-fisheries reforms, receive the full cost of tuition and expenses while pursuing their Master of Environmental Science & Management degree at the Bren School, with a concentration in Coastal Marine Resources Management.

Sustainable Water Markets Fellowship (SWM)

In 2012, the Walton Family Foundation provided a generous gift of $800,000 to establish the Walton Family Foundation Sustainable Water Markets Fellowship program (SWM) for the study of market-based solutions to freshwater challenges in the American West. The foundation’s environmental program is focused generally on employing market-based strategies for creating cleaner, healthier rivers and oceans; ensuring access to an abundant and sustainable supply of clean water and healthy seafood; and supporting the millions of people in America and around the world whose lives and livelihoods depend on this vital resource. The program aims to have these students lead water management reform in the United States by contributing new knowledge, shaping policy, and creating market-based solutions.