Benefactor’s new gift expands Zwick Center’s research and outreach on sustainable and local agriculture, food access and health

Dr. Charles Zwick meets with President Lyndon B. Johnson during his time as Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Budget from 1968-1969.
Dr. Charles Zwick confers with President Lyndon B. Johnson during his time as Director of the US Bureau of the Budget from 1968-1969.

In 2010, the Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy was established with a million dollar gift from Dr. Charles Zwick to rename and expand the scope of the Food Marketing Policy Center. This past April, Dr. Zwick generously boosted his support of the Center with an additional $500,000 gift.

The Zwick Center, housed within the CAHNR Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is designed to provide policy-oriented economic research that delivers unbiased information and practical recommendations to support agricultural and environmental sustainability policies.

“We are looking to see impact from the Center’s research,” says Dr. Zwick. “The world is changing fast and we need to have clear data to guide us in how we use and distribute valuable resources.”

The Center focuses on policies that affect food marketing, environmental and natural resources, and economic development, all in an effort to impact public policies that improve society’s welfare. These studies aid policymakers, government agencies and stakeholders such as the US and Connecticut Departments of Agriculture, the Connecticut Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development, the Connecticut Farm Bureau, Farm Credit East and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“This new gift will allow us to expand research and outreach focused on sustainable and local agriculture, food access and health,” says the Center’s director Rigoberto Lopez, who is also head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. “Dr. Zwick feels that we have made a positive impact on local farmers through research that supports policies to ensure the economic sustainability of farms on future generations.”

As the Center moves forward, new studies will be conducted on topics such as food security, food marketing, local food and sustainable economic development of the dairy and horticultural industries.

“As a research professor with the Zwick Center, I have had the honor to work with excellent faculty and engaged community partners on a variety of issues,” says Adam Rabinowitz. “What I enjoy most about working in the Zwick Center is that I know my time and effort has real-world impact and helps others throughout Connecticut, the region and the nation. I’m looking forward to the next phase of our research and the opportunity to help stakeholders address problems in food, agriculture and the environment.”

The Center’s namesake and main donor, Dr. Charles J. Zwick, is a Connecticut native and one of UConn’s most distinguished alumni. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics at UConn and went on to complete a PhD in economics at Harvard University.

Dr. Zwick taught at both UConn and Harvard before working as head of logistics at the RAND Corporation. He was director of the US Bureau of the Budget (now Office of Management and Budget) from 1965 to 1968 and from 1968 to 1969 under President Johnson’s administration. He has the distinction of being the only director to balance the federal budget until the Clinton Administration. He did so during the turbulent 1960s, when President Johnson’s Great Society Initiatives and the Vietnam War were a financial burden for the country.

After leaving government services, Dr. Zwick served as president and CEO and chairman of the board of Southeast Banking Corporation in Florida until retiring in 1991.

After official retirement, Dr. Zwick continued to serve in many capacities for the State of Florida and the federal government, including the President’s Commission on Military Compensation for President Carter as well as with numerous boards of for-profit and non-profit organizations.

“Dr. Zwick sees himself as a farm boy at heart, grateful for being educated at both UConn and Harvard,” says Lopez. “He feels a connection to the land and to the CAHNR and feels strongly that his support of the College should have impact on the residents of Connecticut and beyond. And that’s what the Zwick Center is all about: making a meaningful impact on the lives of farmers and citizens in Connecticut and beyond.”

By Kim Colavito Markesich