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August 1, 2013

$1 million gift to support UO Law Environmental and Natural Resources Center

The University of Oregon School of Law is pleased to announce it has received a generous $1 million gift from the Bowerman family through the Oregon Community Foundation. The gift will enhance the pioneering work already being conducted by Oregon Law's Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENR) Center and provide funds to initiatives in direct support of law students and the communities impacted by their work. 

The Bowerman family's gift will have an immediate impact on students involved in Oregon Law's ENR Center by enabling the program to double the number student fellowships it offers. The ENR Center awards fellowships to law students who are then assigned to work with one of the center's seven interdisciplinary projects alongside expert faculty members and practitioners.

The center's Interdisciplinary Projects and Fellows program is the law school's vehicle for meeting the needs of the rapidly changing field of environmental law and finding solutions to today's most challenging environmental issues. The program innovates how legal education can enhance the student experience while providing community service.

"The increased research capacity made possible by the Bowerman family will allow the Interdisciplinary Projects and Fellows program to continue offering an unparalleled practical education experience for students, while delivering multi-disciplinary solutions to today's environmental challenges," said Heather Brinton, managing director for the ENR Center.

Speaking for the family, Tom Bowerman said "we are confident this gift to the law school will contribute to education excellence as well as affect policy in a way that reveals shared values. The ENR Center attracts brilliant students and we hope to tap their talent, energy and enthusiasm for important policy research and initiatives that provides a real value to our world."

Connections with the environment run deep in the family of Oregon track legend Bill Bowerman. Originally arriving by wagon train, seven generations of the family's history have spanned Oregon's cultural and natural landscape in farming, ranching, teaching, building, homemaking, legislative and legal occupations.

Oregon Law Dean Michael Moffitt noted the positive impact the Bowerman family gift will have on the educational experiences of Oregon Law students.

"This gift will transform the Oregon Law ENR Center by enhancing our faculty and students' ability to expand their legal scholarship and educational experiences," Moffitt said. "This gift makes possible our innovative approach to legal education, and I am deeply grateful to the Bowerman family for their continued support of the ENR Center."

The gift also allows for:

  • The expansion of the ENR interdisciplinary projects through the support of two research associate positions. Research associates are responsible for supporting student research and conducting independent research as part of one of ENR's interdisciplinary projects.
  • Funding for Oregon Law graduates pursuing environmental and natural resources law public interest positions. Support from this gift will provide more students with opportunities to pursue public interest environmental and natural resources law as a career.
  • Funding of summer stipends that will allow students to pursue work in environmental and natural resources public service organizations, such as government agencies, nonprofits and Native American Tribes that might otherwise be unpaid.

"This amazingly generous gift comes to us as part of the Bowerman legacy for protecting nature. We are immensely grateful," added Professor Mary Wood, faculty director for the ENR Center.

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