The Wrigley family has a long history of commitment to USC and to conservation, and most of Catalina Island is protected as a result of the Wrigley family's environmental vision. USC established the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center on the island at Big Fisherman's Cove following a grant of more than 14 acres of land from the families of Philip Wrigley and Paxson Offield. In 1995, William and Julie Wrigley continued their family legacy by providing USC with the capital to initiate the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. Their generous gift provided for an endowed directorship, an endowed chair and the renovation of the Wrigley Marine Science Center. Today, the USC research complex on Catalina Island is the centerpiece of the Wrigley Institute.

For more information about the Wrigley family and its involvement with USC, see the story A Family Legacy Continues on the website of the USC College.

WMSC lab under construction in 1967. Photo courtesy of Lee Irwin, superintendent in the 1960s for Bechtel Corp., which built the USC labs on Catalina Island at Big Fisherman's Cove.

The University of Southern California has a long history of involvement in environmental issues. USC hired its first marine biologist, Albert Ulrey, in 1901. In 1910, USC carried out studies on water contamination off Venice Beach, the first of many environmentally focused research projects. In 1965, USC created the marine lab on Catalina Island, now known as the Wrigley Marine Science Center. In addition, USC administers the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the nation's premier award in the field. USC also manages the USC Sea Grant Program, a federally funded program of research, education and outreach. The Sea Grant program at USC places special emphasis on the "urban ocean."