The University of California Museum of Paleontology has established the new William A. Clemens Memorial Fund in Vertebrate Paleontology.
Announced by the museum’s March 5 press release, this endowment will fund the upkeep and use of the museum’s vertebrate paleontology collections through annual disbursements.
The fund’s namesake, William Clemens, was a member of the campus community for 60 years and passed away in 2020, according to the press release.
“Bill Clemens was much beloved and had an enormous impact on vertebrate paleontology throughout the country through his research, his training of undergraduate and graduate students, his scholarship and his generous and kind personality,” said Charles Marshall, the museum’s director, in an email.
Of the 48 donors for this fund, most were campus alumni, according to Marshall.
The museum is home to over seven million fossils encompassing every major group of organism and is driven by a mission of research and education on the history of life.
The current museum, located in UC Berkeley’s Valley Life Sciences Building, was formally established in 1921 following a donation from naturalist and philanthropist Annie Alexander.
“The mission of the University of California Museum of Paleontology is to investigate and promote the understanding of the history of life and the diversity of the Earth’s biota through research and education,” Marshall said in the email. “We are part of the core undergraduate and graduate campus programs in organismal and evolutionary biology.”
Starting in 1868 at the university’s inception, the now-defunct paleontology department was entitled to the collections made by the California Geological Survey, a provision added to the university’s founding document through the state legislature by John Dwinelle.
The same provision earmarked the collection for use by the public, visitors and researchers through what was formerly known as the Museum of the University.
“This new endowment is so important to our future success, building on the rich legacy established by Bill throughout his long career at Berkeley,” Marshall said in the email.