Bunnett and his late wife, Sara, chose to have their CRT benefit their son David immediately and then ultimately, Crown College. "That's the college I've been associated with," said Bunnett, "and after the transfer of the trust, it will support an endowment bringing speakers with messages of intellectual significance to Crown College."
The planned gift is just one example of Bunnett's long career of service to UC Santa Cruz. In 2000, Bunnett received the Dean McHenry Award for Distinguished Leadership in the Academic Senate. In honoring him, the Academic Senate noted that Bunnett had succeeded brilliantly in areas crucial to the establishment of a new campus: department-building, teaching and related concerns with undergraduates, prominence in his profession, and service to the Academic Senate and the larger community.
Among the many accomplishments of Bunnett's teaching and research career, he has been made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has received numerous awards in recognition of his research, and was the founding editor of Accounts of Chemical Research, a prestigious journal of the American Chemical Society. His work in creating a new journal and guiding its growth in readership and prestige was done in the years 1966-86, which some called the counterculture era at UC Santa Cruz.
Bunnett was also honored by his UC Santa Cruz colleagues and friends who established an annual endowed event, the Joseph F. Bunnett Research Organic Chemistry Lecture, which Bunnett and has also supported. "I have an affection for UC Santa Cruz," said Bunnett, "and I know there are a lot of campus activities that state appropriations don't cover." With the generous support of Joe Bunnett, the intellectual community of UC Santa Cruz is enriched with a variety of distinguished speakers, now and into the future.