Ex-Marine Bren to Donate $1 Million to Endow 2 Chairs at Corps’ University

From Staff and Wire Reports

Donald Bren, a former Marine and current head of the Irvine Co., plans to donate $1 million to endow two academic chairs at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va., school officials said Friday.

The positions are to be filled by civilian professors-in-residence, one of whom will focus on ethics and leadership and the other on innovation and transformation, officials said.

“These new professorial chairs will help Marine officers explore two strategically important subjects as the mission of the Marine Corps grows more difficult, complex and challenging,” Bren wrote in a statement.


At a recent university reception, Bren said his education as a Marine “transformed my life.”

Bren, one of Orange County’s leading developers, went through officer training at Quantico in 1957 and later served as a Marine officer at Camp Pendleton.

In 1998, he was presented with the Semper Fidelis Award for his support of the Marine Corps University Foundation. Other recipients include former President George Bush and former California Gov. Pete Wilson.

“To the extent that I have been successful, I am pleased to say that it started here, in Quantico,” he said in Friday’s announcement.

Bren has endowed 20 chairs on various campuses, including a dozen positions at UC Irvine, which opened in 1965.

The other chairs are at Caltech in Pasadena, Chapman University in Orange and UC Santa Barbara, where Bren donated $15 million in 1997 to create the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.

Bren has endowed more chairs at the University of California and Caltech than any other single donor, university officials said.