UConn Receives $3M Gift For Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Research

An exterior picture of the Austin Building, home to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Five faculty members from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships for 2020-21. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Impressed by UConn’s research in ecology and evolutionary biology, an anonymous donor has given $3 million to endow two research positions in the University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The unprecedented gift means the university will be able to recruit and retain from among the best scientists in the field.

“This gift will elevate the College’s already innovative research and education in ecology and evolutionary biology, sciences that are increasingly relevant in the modern world,” says Juli Wade, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Transformative gifts like these help us attract and keep the best researchers and educators, who enrich the entire University and the state of Connecticut.”

The gift speaks directly to UConn President Thomas Katsouleas’s goal of doubling UConn’s research enterprise over the next 10 years. UConn, a top 25 public research university, carries out research within its 14 schools and colleges and 80 research centers and institutes.

“This is completely unprecedented,” says Eric Schultz, professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “No department in the University has been granted two endowed chairs simultaneously like this. It represents a substantial and absolutely incredible opportunity for us.”

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology faculty and staff investigate and teach about the earth’s heritage of biological diversity, an important area of research given the high rate of human-caused extinctions, says Schultz.

The two positions can be used to recruit scholars to the department or to support current faculty members. The chairs will be named after the Shakespearean characters Titania and Prospero in honor of the donor, a lifelong student of the Bard.