Fred Keeley bequest will support UC Santa Cruz environmental policy institute

Santa Cruz County Treasurer Fred Keeley has made a planned gift of $250,000 to the University of California, Santa Cruz, to support the campus's STEPS Institute for Innovation in Environmental Research.

Keeley, a former state assemblyman and a longtime supporter of UCSC, has included the STEPS Institute in his personal will because of his high regard for the work being done at the institute.

"The institute's interdisciplinary mission to look into and solve vexing environmental problems on a very large scale is very exciting to me," said Keeley. "Combining the disciplines of science, economics, and political science to address large-scale environmental problems is a very healthy and productive approach."

Keeley, a former executive director of the statewide Planning and Conservation League, has a long record of leadership on environmental issues. In the Assembly, he authored Proposition 12 and Proposition 40, the two largest environmental protection and park bond acts in the nation's history. Both were approved by voters, generating a combined $4.7 billion in bond funding for parks and environmental protection. Keeley also authored the Marine Life Management Act and coauthored the Marine Life Protection Act, major legislation that made significant policy changes in the management of California's coastal waters and marine environment.

In making the bequest, Keeley said, "The University of California is the leading research institution in the nation, and it needs as much support as it can get from as many sources as possible." He hailed the opportunities the STEPS Institute offers students to participate in environmental problem solving and said STEPS addresses his desire to "leave the planet somewhat better than I found it."

In 2003, in recognition of Keeley's contributions to education and environmental policy, the campus established the Keeley Lecture on Environmental Policy. The popular lecture series has so far brought former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich to campus. Hundreds of people turned out March 2 for Ehrlich's free lecture titled, "One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future."

"The Fred Keeley Lecture provides an annual forum for the community and the campus to come together and learn about environmental issues from outstanding guest speakers," said John Leopold, director of development for the Division of Social Sciences at UCSC. "The events have been very well received. This bequest will further benefit the people of California."