The donation, announced Monday, will ensure that the Donald Bren School of Law will greet an expected first class of 67 students on schedule in fall 2009, said UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake.
"Mr Bren is an astute investor and . . . wants this law school to be the very best that it can be," Drake said.
Bren, the Newport Beach developer and philanthropist whose fortune is estimated at $8.5 billion, will fund the salaries for the law school's dean and 11 faculty positions. How to spend the rest will be up to the dean.
The school is expected to eventually have 30 to 40 professors and 600 students.
The school began a search for its dean in November. Drake said the field had been narrowed to fewer than a dozen candidates.
A salary of $233,200 to $364,300 has been approved for the position.
"Within about six weeks we hope to come to a decision and to make an announcement shortly after that," Drake said.