The Nicholas School of the Environment received a $5 million donation from Duke alumni to support environmental research and education.

Jeff Ubben, Trinity ’83 and a member of the Board of Trustees, and Laurie Ubben, Trinity ‘84, gifted $25 million in total to the World Wildlife Fund and Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Twenty million dollars will support the WWF’s conservation efforts, while the other $5 million will support Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. The gift also supports the growing partnership between the organization and the Nicholas School.

“This far-sighted gift from two of Duke’s most dedicated alumni will enable us to pioneer a new model of collaboration between a university and a global conservation organization,” Jeffrey Vincent, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School, said to Giving to Duke.

Vincent added that he was excited by the opportunities that the gift will create for students, including research that supports conservation. 

Research projects will span a wide variety of issues and regions, Vincent told The Herald Sun. He added that professors both at the Marine Lab and in Durham will be involved in projects.

Vincent explained to the newspaper that although the gift was first announced in December, the donation had been received by the school earlier and had already benefited students by that time. 

Jeff Ubben was elected to the Duke Board of Trustees in 2015, and is on the Board of Directors of the Nicholas School-based E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. 

Jeff and Laurie Ubben had made three large donations previously, including $10 million toward activities in Duke’s new arts center, $2.5 million toward club sports and Duke athletics and $2.5 million in alumni programming.

“Jeff and I feel strongly about protecting the environment,” Laurie Ubben said to Giving to Duke. “We’re energized by the important work WWF and Duke are doing to safeguard our planet. Now more than ever, we believe these initiatives must be supported.”