Alia Tutor ’00: A Passionate Philanthropist

Tutor, whose leadership gift to the reimagining of the Law Library represents the largest single commitment in the Law School’s history, supports nonprofit organizations and institutions where she believes she can make a significant difference. She is one of this year’s Medal for Excellence recipients. 

Alia Tutor

Alia Tutor ’00 is a visionary philanthropist. As president of the Alia Tutor Family Foundation, she carefully considers causes and chooses to support projects where her participation will have a lasting impact, particularly in medicine, higher education, and the arts. She will receive the Medal for Excellence, the Law School’s highest honor, on February 23 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City, along with fellow honoree Rolando T. Acosta CC ’79, LAW ’82.

In choosing to support Columbia Law School—with both an endowed scholarship and with her leadership gift for the reimagined Law Library—Tutor, who is a member of the Law School’s Dean’s Council and was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar during her time in law school, combines her giving philosophy with a deep and abiding personal affection for her alma mater. 

Four years ago, Tutor established the Sidney J. Feltenstein ’26 Scholarship Fund on the occasion of her father’s 80th birthday. “The Feltenstein scholarships represent two very important ideals,” she says. “First, they are 100% need-based, so it’s a way to help ensure better access to a world-class education to those who otherwise have no such opportunity. Second, and more personally, the scholarships are a way to honor my grandfather and my father for what they meant to me as a young student aspiring to become a lawyer.” Besides Tutor’s grandfather Sidney, her great-grandfather Moses (LAW 1897) also attended Columbia Law School, as did her father’s cousin.

More recently, when Tutor learned that Columbia Law School was in the early stages of reimagining the Law Library, she also considered the significant impact a leadership gift would have on future generations of students at the Law School. The project—which will create much-needed space for individual and group study, incorporate state-of-the-art technology, and increase capacity for students by up to 60%—will position Columbia’s Law Library as one of the most important and accessible academic law libraries in the world. 

“Reflecting on what the library meant to me as a student—being able to study and collaborate on campus—and knowing the breadth of the impact this project will have on literally thousands of students, it became an obvious and, in some ways, a compulsory way for me to help meet this really substantial area of need,” she says.

Tutor’s $17.5 million gift—the largest single commitment in the Law School’s history—serves as a strong foundation for the funds the Law School aims to raise for the project, which would be one of the largest capital investments in the institution’s history. “Importantly, this project is totally forward-thinking and focused on the future,” Tutor says. “As an institution, we stand for access, equality, and opportunity under the law, and the library will be a symbolic reinforcement of those ideals.”

When the new library opens in 2025, it will be renamed the Alia Tutor Law Library in her honor.

City of Angels

After many years working in the private sector, Tutor has increasingly turned her attention to philanthropy, with a particular focus on institutions in Los Angeles, where she lives. 

Tutor serves on the board of directors for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the CHLA Foundation Board of Trustees. She endowed CHLA’s Global Online Pediatric Subspecialty Training Program, a comprehensive telehealth and tele-education platform that facilitates advanced pediatric training to bolster the skills of doctors and nurses on the front lines of providing care in other countries. She also served as co-chair of the hospital’s Government Relations Committee.

Tutor and her husband, Ronald N. Tutor, chairman and CEO of the Tutor Perini Corp., are also longtime supporters of the University of Southern California (USC), where Tutor established the Alia Tutor Chair in Reproductive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC to foster groundbreaking research and treatment critical to this field of medicine. She serves on the USC president’s council and is an inaugural member of the Keck Medicine of USC Board of Councilors. Additionally, the Tutors have made historic naming gifts, including the Ronald Tutor Campus Center and Viterbi School of Engineering’s Ronald Tutor Hall, both at USC.

A fervent supporter of the arts, Tutor serves on the board of directors of the Aspen Music Festival and School. She is also a former member of the Los Angeles Ballet (LAB) Board of Directors and was recently honored with LAB’s Angel Award for “extraordinary contributions … to LAB and the city of Los Angeles.”


Still, New York City—and especially Morningside Heights—is always in her heart. “As a young child, I would picnic on campus,” says Tutor, “and those sensory experiences, being in the middle of this hive of activity surrounded by stately buildings, are some of my most vivid memories.”

Now, visits to New York will be even more poignant. “When this beautiful new library opens, it won’t only be my name I see,” she says. “It will be my grandmother’s, my mother’s and father’s, my grandfather’s, my great-grandfather’s names. This project will evoke the contributions of my entire family and everyone who touched my life, from childhood through my time as a student, all the way up to the present. It’s an unbelievable feeling of pride, for which I am extremely thankful.”