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July 16, 2012

Tom Bowerman gifts $250K to Environmental Law program

Gift will enhance student research, solutions for real world problems

The University of Oregon School of Law is pleased to announce that it has received a generous gift of $250,000 from UO alumnus Tom Bowerman. The gift will further the groundbreaking work already being conducted by the school’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENR) program’s Interdisciplinary Research Projects and Fellows Program.

Bowerman’s gift will enable the program to fund additional paid fellows and maintain high quality administrative staff. More importantly the gift will support the expansion of the ENR interdisciplinary projects through the support of a research associate to work with law students, other graduate students, faculty from across the university, governmental organizations and nonprofit organizations to execute important research initiatives.

The newly created research associate position will be responsible for conducting independent research as part of one or more of the flagship ENR interdisciplinary projects: The Conservation Trust Project, The Energy Law and Policy Project, The Food Resiliency Project, The Global Environmental Democracy Project, The Native Environmental Sovereignty Project, The Oceans, Coasts, and Watersheds Project and The Sustainable Land Use Project.

These projects draw upon existing faculty strengths and provide synergistic opportunities for promoting student experience, providing service to the community, reaching out to diverse communities, bringing global content to the curriculum and bringing intellectual energy to bear on some of the most challenging and cutting-edge environmental issues of today.

“Through increased research capacity, the Interdisciplinary Projects and Fellows Program will continue to offer multi-disciplinary solutions to today’s environmental challenges while enhancing students’ educational opportunities,” said Heather Brinton, managing director for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program. “It also allows for us to be directly responsive to our current circumstances and to fully realize our role as part of a major research institution that leads the field of environmental and natural resources law.”

School of Law Dean Michael Moffitt noted the generosity of Bowerman and the power of his gift.

“This gift and the vision associated with this program will enhance our law school’s ability to do the three most important things a law school can do: teach our students, expand our understanding about the law, and create positive impact in the world,” Moffitt said. “I am confident that this innovative approach to legal education will be transformational, and I am deeply grateful to Tom Bowerman for his support and his creativity.”

Bowerman hopes that the research made possible through his gift will go beneath the layers of current policy debates and reveal a set of broadly shared goals and values.

“I expect this research program will foster policy insights into chronic persistent problems. The Oregon ENR program already attracts brilliant students, and the aim is to tap this talent for policy research as well as provide them with a high sense of relevance.”

Bowerman is a longtime supporter of the law school’s ENR program, funding the Bowerman Fellowships that allow three rising second- and third-year law students the opportunity to engage in research projects that further their knowledge, careers and fields of practice.

Bowerman graduated from the UO School of Architecture in 1969 and went on to practice large-scale development in planning and architecture in California, Hawaii and Northern Ireland before returning to Oregon. He founded the McKenzie River Trust and has served on numerous local and regional planning advisory boards.

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