The University of California, Berkeley has announced a $50 million gift from Gordon Rausser, former dean of the College of Natural Resources and the Robert Gordon Sproul Distinguished Professor Emeritus of agricultural and resource economics at UC Berkeley.
The largest gift ever to the college will help establish an unrestricted endowment that the dean will use, in consultation with faculty leadership, to address needs across the renamed Rausser College of Natural Resources, including support for graduate students, new interdisciplinary research programs, faculty recruitment and retention, curriculum innovations, and equity and inclusion initiatives. The gift also will support creation of the Gordon Rausser Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, where Rausser served for more than four decades, and help establish a Rausser-Zilberman Program Endowed Fund for the Master of Development Practice (MDP) Program.
Rausser joined the Berkeley faculty in 1978 and served as chair of the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics before being appointed dean of the College of Natural Resources in 1994. The land-grant college is focused on the economic, social, environmental, and health challenges facing California and the nation, including climate change, the transition to clean energy sources, and food security and nutrition. During his tenure as dean, Rausser worked to create eight faculty endowed chairs and spearheaded a research and development agreement between the college's Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and the Novartis Agricultural Discovery Institute to advance fundamental research in plant biology and genomics.
"The state of California, and the nation as a whole, face enormous environmental risks today that didn't exist twenty years ago, and we as a society haven't found the will to address them squarely," said Rausser. "Rausser College has some of the best economists in the world and some of the best scientists in the world, and by working together, as they must, they uniquely position the college to provide not only the fundamental science, but also the practical solutions, needed to tackle these challenges."
(Photo credit: Keegan Houser)