Press Release

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Receives Major Philanthropic Support


$5 Million Bryson Fund to Support Science, Engineering, and Technology Research

CAMBRIDGE, MA | APRIL 24, 2017 — The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has received a gift of $5 million from Academy members Louise Henry Bryson and John E. Bryson to support the Academy’s research and study in the fields of science, engineering, and technology, with a particular focus on energy and the environment.

The gift reflects John Bryson’s lifelong love of the outdoors and his work to promote clean energy, increase energy efficiency, and protect the environment. After graduating from Yale Law School, he co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He served in California state government as Chairman of the Water Resources Control Board and President of the Public Utilities Commission. For more than 18 years, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison. John Bryson’s public service includes being a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change and serving in the Obama Administration as Secretary of Commerce.

Louise Bryson culminated a long career in the media with service on the Board of the J. Paul Getty Trust, serving as its chair for four years. John and Louise have four daughters and two grandchildren, all residing in California.

“I hope this gift will continue our entire family’s commitment to the advancement of science and the protection and preservation of the environment,” said Louise Bryson. “We are truly honored to be able to help sustain the Academy’s work in science and engineering in perpetuity through this gift.”

A portion of the gift will be used to endow the John E. Bryson Director of Science, Engineering, and Technology Programs at the Academy, who will be a senior leader dedicated to bringing together experts across all disciplines for research and recommendations.

“This generous gift provides both endorsement and encouragement of the work we are doing to ensure that advances in science, engineering, and technology can better the lives of people and the health of the planet,” said Jonathan Fanton, President of the American Academy. “We are grateful to John and Louise and appreciate this expression of their commitment to the environment.”

“The Bryson gift raises our aspirations for the Academy’s current and future initiatives in science, engineering, and technology. We are deeply appreciative of the lasting and significant impact their gift will have,” said Don Randel, Chair of the American Academy’s Board of Directors.



For the American Academy
Alison Franklin
American Academy of Arts and Sciences