It certainly seems as if Bren now means to distance himself from the fledgling law school. Note that his website's description of Bren's philanthropy makes no mention of his $20 million gift to U.C. Irvine School of Law. The omission appears deliberate, moreover, given that the gift would rank among the most generous he has made. Even more tellingly, reference to the Internet Archives shows that the same webpage formerly gave Bren's gift to the law school top billing.
Does that mean that the U.C. Irvine School of Law has lost Bren's gift? The Orange County Business Journal reports that "Bren still is good for $20 million," a somewhat cryptic phrasing—one that leaves open the possibility that Bren withdrew the gift but that he stands ready to reinstate it upon certain conditions. Consistent with that reading, the same source added, "Bren's name could be added later."
UPDATE Marla Jo Fisher, a reporter at the Orange County Register and a fellow blogger at College Life O.C., got this update from UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon: “There has been no renegotiation of the gift agreement. We do not have to give back the $20 million.”
She also got this email from the Irvine Company:
UCI requested the name change in order to be consistent with other UC
schools and the trend away from naming law schools after major donors,
and Mr. Bren agreed to accommodate UCI’s request. His earlier announced
gift of $20 million remains intact and we look forward to a world-class
law school at UCI.
Hope that helps. Please let me know if you need any additional
Vice President, Media Relations
[Crossposted at MoneyLaw and College Life O.C.]