The College of Natural Resources (CNR), a college of the University of California, Berkeley, is the oldest college in the UC system and home to several internationally top-ranked programs. CNR's Department of Agriculture & Economics is considered to be one of the most prestigious schools in agricultural economics in the world, ranking #1 according to the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, #1 by the Chronicle of Higher Education, #1 by Perry for its Ph.D. programs and in International Trade, #1 by the National Research Council in Agricultural & Resource Economics, and #1 by U.S. News in Environmental/Environmental Health. In environmental disciplines, QS World Rankings recognizes the University of California, Berkeley, as the world's leading university in Environmental Studies with 100 points in Academic Reputation. U.S. News also ranks it as the best global university for environment and ecology. A study of AJAE authors and their university affiliations found it to have the highest number of pages per research faculty member. Established in 1868 as the College of Agriculture under the federal Morrill Land-Grant Acts, CNR is the first state-run Agricultural Experiment Station. The college is home to four academic departments: Agriculture and Resource Economics; Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology; and Plant and Microbial Biology, and one interdisciplinary program, Energy and Resources Group. Faculty include 40 Fulbright Fellows, 30 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows, 19 National Academy of Sciences members, 12 Guggenheim Fellows, 9 American Academy of Arts and Sciences members, 7 MacArthur Fellows, 4 Nobel Laureates, 3 Wolf Prize winners, and 2 World Food Prize winners. The Dean of the College is Prof. David Ackerly.
Plans for the creation of this public university were first developed at the 1849 Constitutional Convention, but when the State of California was established in 1850, it lacked the funds necessary to create such a school. Missionaries sent west by the Home Mission Society of New York, however, created the College of California and eventually transferred its ownership to the State in 1855.
By 1862, the State had secured the land necessary to establish a college as a result of the Morrill Act. This college was known as the Agricultural Mining and Mechanical Arts College, and opened formally in 1866.
On March 23, 1868, Governor H.H. Haight combined the resources of this college with the College of California to create the first University of California.
The Board of Regents began admitting women to the University of California in 1871, and the first woman to graduate was Rosa L. Scrivner, with a PhB in Agriculture.
The College of Natural Resources is located on the northwest end of the UC Berkeley campus, and comprises six main buildings.
These include the historic group of Wellman, Hilgard, and Giannini halls that composed the original college. This trio, known as the Agriculture Complex, is the most unified grouping of buildings on campus. They are on the National Register of Historic Places, and are visually unified by a Mediterranean landscape of olive and stone pine trees.
The first hall, Wellman, is a Classical Revival building designed in 1912 by John Galen Howard and named after Harry R. Wellman, a professor of Agricultural Economics, and acting president of the University.
Hilgard was constructed six years later by the same architect, and named after Eugene W. Hilgard, professor of Agricultural Chemistry and father of modern soil science. Its neo-classical design is inscribed with the phrase "To Rescue for Human Society the Native Values of Rural Life."
Giannini Hall was designed by Howard's co-worker, William Charles Hays, through an endowment from the Bancitaly Corporation (now known as Bank of America) in memory of their founder, Amadeo Giannini.