Law School Announces $300 Million Campaign

The Campaign for Columbia Law to launch Monday night at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with a keynote by Gov. Steve Bullock ’94 of Montana.

NEW YORK, October 16, 2017—Columbia Law School announced a new $300 million campaign to secure a future that builds on its legacy of excellence in legal education, scholarship, and global impact. The campaign will kick off with a gala on Monday evening, Oct. 16, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Campaign for Columbia Law seeks to raise funds in support of students and faculty, clinical and experiential learning, the expansion of the Law School’s library, and a renewed commitment to annual giving by alumni.

The campaign is co-chaired by Alison S. Ressler ’83, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell; Brad Smith ’84, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer; and Kathy Surace-Smith ’84, vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of NanoString Technologies. Media entrepreneur and philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’58 serves as honorary co-chair.

“Thanks to the exceptional commitment of our alumni, we are planning unprecedented investments in faculty, students, and facilities that will enable us and our graduates to remain at the forefront of addressing the world’s most pressing challenges for generations to come,” said Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “The Campaign for Columbia Law will ensure that Columbia Law School and our alumni continue to shape the path of society as we have for more than a century.”

Advancing justice, rights, and prosperity worldwide

The theme of the campaign, “We Were There,” spotlights the historic contributions by Columbia graduates and professors to advances that have shaped society in such areas as civil rights, regulation of financial markets, international and human rights, and national security. The Law School’s long and distinguished history serves as a springboard for generations of Columbia Law School students who will be called upon to advance freedom, promote justice, expand the well-being of people the world over, and lead at the highest levels of the private and public sectors.

Columbia Law graduate Steve Bullock ’94, Montana’s 24th governor, will deliver the keynote address at Monday’s gala. Other distinguished speakers will include Lee C. Bollinger ’71, Columbia University’s president, Dean Lester, and Michael I. Sovern ’55, the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law, the eighth dean of the Law School, and president emeritus of Columbia University.

Five areas for investment over five years

The five-year Campaign for Columbia Law prioritizes these five areas for investment:

  • Faculty support: $100 million for faculty research and teaching through named professorships, faculty research funds, grants for curriculum development and programming, and fellowships for future academics.
  • Student support: $100 million to help ensure that the most talented students worldwide continue to attend Columbia Law School regardless of socioeconomic status. The support includes investments in scholarships; funding for internships, employment in government, and positions that serve the public; postgraduate fellowships; and loan repayment assistance.
  • Experiential learning: $20 million for experiential learning, including for clinical and externship offerings that build on existing opportunities for students to counsel clients and shape policy in such areas of the law as immigration, prisoners’ rights, gender and sexuality, and the environment.
  • Library and infrastructure: $40 million to renovate and expand the Law School’s library, which houses one of the world’s finest collections of legal materials, to create superior study and collaboration spaces, as well as to make technology upgrades.
  • Annual Fund: $40 million for the Law School’s Annual Fund, which allows the school to seize opportunities and move forward with innovations in legal education as they arise.

To date, more than $105 million in new commitments has been raised during the silent phase, including a $15 million pledge from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation. This gift will provide full-tuition scholarships to help outstanding students prepare for careers in government, nonprofit organizations, academia, social entrepreneurship, or community development.

The gift also establishes a first-of-its-kind matching scholarship fund that will translate into a new $10 million scholarship endowment—created to encourage donors to endow named scholarships. Finally, the gift will expand Columbia Law School’s already significant opportunities for students to learn and practice essential legal skills as part of their clinical education.

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Posted on October 16, 2017