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The Rausser College of Natural Resources: A Vision for the Future

Wellman Hall.

Photo by Keegan Houser. 

When we celebrated UC Berkeley’s 150th anniversary two years ago, we didn’t yet know the exciting future that would present itself to our College today. Now, as we begin the new decade as the Rausser College of Natural Resources, our core commitment to excellence and access—along with our unique stewardship of Berkeley’s land-grant mission—remains unwavering. Gordon Rausser’s transformational gift will support our fundamental research addressing the world’s most pressing environmental and health challenges; allow us to continue training the next generation of scientists, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, policy makers, and industry experts; and help us ensure that our work reaches a broad range of stakeholders.

This extraordinary gift will establish an unrestricted endowed fund through which the dean and future leadership can invest in core priorities to strengthen and enhance the excellence of the College. A portion of the gift will also create an endowed fund for the UC Berkeley Master of Development Practice program and an endowed chair supporting a full or associate professor in the College’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 

Some opportunities and priorities for initial funding over the next few years include the following:

  • We will make critical investments to bolster support for our graduate students. Recruiting the world’s best graduate students and supporting their success is vital to advancing our academic excellence and impact. This gift will also help us to inspire others to follow in Professor Emeritus Rausser’s footsteps and continue to make generous investments in our students.
  • We will make informed, strategic investments—in consultation with faculty leadership—in our core enterprises: innovative research, effective teaching, and active outreach to communities across the world. We will prioritize investments in interdisciplinary work that demonstrates strong potential for societal impact.
  • We will maintain a strategic investment fund to support faculty recruitment, critical facilities and capital projects, and advances in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive College.

We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Professor Emeritus Rausser—and all our donors—and we know that our work is more important than ever. There’s much to be done, and we’re excited to share our goals for the newly launched Campaign for Berkeley on the next page.

Logo for the Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley
Students doing fieldwork.

Photo by Jim Block. 

Driven by the motto Fiat Lux, UC Berkeley projects a brilliant light as the world’s best public university. We are set apart by our unique combination of comprehensive excellence in research and our public mission. Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley is a call to action in support of this unique and priceless public good.

Launched publicly on February 29, 2020, the Campaign aims to raise $6 billion—the University’s largest-ever fundraising goal and one of the largest campaigns of any public university to date—by the end of 2023. We invite the entire Cal community to play a direct part in supporting Berkeley—our students, staff, faculty, and programs—to ensure that we illuminate knowledge today and for the future. 

The College’s original goal for the Campaign—which started a silent fundraising period in 2014—was $125 million. Since Gordon Rausser’s incredible gift has helped us reach that target earlier than expected, we’ve increased our goal to $150 million by 2023. 


Our Campaign Priorities

Student doing lab work.

Photo by Jim Block. 

Support Our Graduate Students

Endow graduate student fellowships ($1 million each) and support PhD students with stipends aligned with the prestigious National Science Foundation fellowship. Top-off awards for immediate use ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 have a meaningful impact when coupled with other sources of campus support for our students.

Empower Our Undergraduate Students

Support our 2,400 undergraduates with programs including SPUR (Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research), travel grants, PAL (Peer Advising Leadership Program), the Summer Internship Program, and SAL (Student Ambassador Leadership Program).

Enhance Spaces for Innovation and Teaching

Transform our area of campus into a hub for environmental research, training, and outreach. The centerpiece would be a new lab building, and upgrades would be made to existing classrooms, collaboration spaces, and offices. We also seek funds to renovate the Cal Teaching Kitchen into a state-of-the-art facility to address nutrition training and food insecurity and to support the food entrepreneurship ecosystem at Berkeley.

Expand Endowment for Faculty and Cooperative Extension

Endow new chairs at $3 million for tenured faculty and $1 million for untenured faculty to help Rausser College remain competitive across all our departments and fields of study. Increasing funds for Cooperative Extension specialists is also a priority. 

To learn more about how you can support Rausser College, visit nature.berkeley.edu/give.