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Anonymous Gift of $1 Million Creates UW International Wildlife Conservation Chair

September 15, 2022
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John Koprowski

The University of Wyoming’s Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources received a $1 million planned gift from an anonymous donor that will establish the International Wildlife Conservation Chair.

The chair supports John Koprowski, dean of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources.

“I am humbled to be honored by this legacy gift from a friend of the Haub School that has guaranteed, in perpetuity, a role for UW faculty to expand our impact on global conservation issues,” Koprowski says.

This endowed chair is being established to honor the work and accomplishments of Koprowski, this year’s recipient of the prestigious Aldo Leopold Memorial Award -- the highest honor bestowed by The Wildlife Society. Following his retirement, the chair will be renamed as the John L. Koprowski International Wildlife Conservation Chair.

The purpose of this gift is to inspire and create opportunities for future UW scholars in their pursuit of careers in international wildlife conservation. To better support these future scholars, the gift will be used to recruit and retain faculty members in the Haub School who have expertise in wildlife conservation.

The gift also prompted a “legacy match.” These are additional funds -- created by the UW Foundation Board and a private gift -- that are immediately made available when a donor documents a planned gift. In this case, an additional $10,000 has been allocated to the Haub School for direct support of its current programs.

This anonymous gift was structured so that other donors might join in honoring Koprowski’s accomplishments by making additional contributions.

While this gift will be funded in the future, a series of current gifts to the Haub School recently have been made. These directed gifts are to the John Koprowski Excellence Fund, the John Koprowski Research Fellowship Fund, the John Koprowski Mongolia Research Fellowship Fund and the Graduate Research Scholarship in Sustainable Landscapes and Livelihoods.

Koprowski’s achievements have been recognized both nationally and internationally. He was named a Fellow of The Wildlife Society in 2014 and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018; was selected as a member of the Linnean Society of London as of 2019; and will receive the Leopold Award this November.

He has written more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and books and has worked with more than 50 graduate students to provide data-informed solutions to worldwide conservation challenges.

Before coming to UW, Koprowski taught wildlife conservation at the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. His focus always has been to empower students through interdisciplinary and experiential learning.

Koprowski also has taught international courses in countries such as Ecuador, Mongolia, China and Italy. He has created long-standing partnerships with universities and research institutes across the globe, including the University of Insubria (Italy), Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (Japan), Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University (China), National Institute of Biological Resources (South Korea) and Transfrontier Africa (South Africa).

Koprowski’s research philosophy always has been collaborative. It emphasizes community-based research aimed to increase in-country capacity for the conservation and management of biodiversity. His research has not only included many projects within the United States, but it has extended to China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal and South Africa.

Koprowski is strongly committed to the Haub School’s efforts to advance the understanding and resolution of complex environmental and natural resource challenges in Wyoming, the West and the world through its educational, research, outreach and collaborative problem-solving programs. 

“Such a generous gift not only celebrates our tradition of excellence in wildlife research at the University of Wyoming,” Koprowski says, “but further creates opportunity for the Haub School and UW to be viewed as leaders in biodiversity management and ecological connectivity for decades to come.”

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