UCLA Law School to create Chris Cornell Scholarship with $1-million endowment gift

Chris Cornell, photographed in Beverly Hills in 2015, is being memorialized with a scholarship bearing his name at the UCLA School of Law.
(Ricardo de Aratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The Chris Cornell Scholarship, named for the late Soundgarden/Audioslave singer and songwriter, is being launched at the UCLA School of Law with a gift of $1 million from a coalition led by the late musician’s wife, Vicky Cornell.

“This endowment honors an influential musical artist who cared about human rights and enables others the opportunity to make a positive impact in the world,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.

Cornell was active in human rights issues worldwide, and wrote and recorded the song “The Promise” for the feature film of the same name. The latter told the story of the Armenian genocide in the early 20th century.


“The Promise” was nominated in November for a Grammy Award in the rock performance category.

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He donated his proceeds from the song to the International Rescue Committee, while proceeds from the film have been used to create the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law.

“My husband and I agreed that given the opportunity of education, people have the power to change the world,” Vicky Cornell said in the same statement.

“UCLA School of Law is an institution known for its academic excellence and we are proud the Chris Cornell Scholarship will provide funding for future students and future leaders of the world,” Vicky Cornell said.


Chris Cornell, who died in May at age 52, was saluted posthumously last month by the Los Angeles Committee of Human Rights Watch, at the group’s Voices for Justice celebration.

“Vicky Cornell and all the people paying tribute to Chris Cornell’s tremendous legacy are helping to ensure that the law school will extend and strengthen its commitment to our students and to the pursuit of justice,” UCLA Law Dean Jennifer Mnookin said in the statement.

“Through the work of the Promise Institute and the scholarships that this fund will support,” Mnookin continued, “Chris Cornell’s influence will be felt at UCLA Law and beyond for generations to come.”

The coalition that is giving the $1-million contribution to the endowment includes several of Cornell’s friends as well as supporters of the UCLA School of Law.

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