Cornell Law School has received a $25 million gift, the largest in the law school’s history, from an anonymous donor.
“It’s absolutely transformational,” Cornell Law Dean Stewart Schwab said. “It’s one of the very largest gifts in all of legal education and it will allow us to expand and enhance the things we are doing and create new ones.”
The money will be added to the school’s endowment and will be used to support faculty research initiatives, student scholarships, loan forgiveness for students pursuing public interest work, and existing and new programs. The funds will come in over time.
Meanwhile, the law school broke ground on its $60 million expansion and building project, which will be completed in three stages. The first phase will add a new wing to Myron Taylor Hall, which will include a new entrance and lobby, a 170-seat auditorium and new classrooms. The $24 million needed to complete the first phase has already been raised, Schwab said, and the law school hopes to begin holding classes in the new wing in spring 2014.
The school is currently raising money to finance the second stage of the project, which will include major renovations to the library and locker room space, as well as the additional classrooms, gathering spaces and offices.
The third phase will convert the law school’s dorm into office and meeting space. The school will enter into a partnership with private developers near the school to house future law students.
“It is going to be a real physical transformation of the school in many ways while still retaining its essence and its beauty,” Schwab said. He added that there has been an “explosion” of new activities at the law school in the last few decades and the expansion “will allow us for decades to come to be able to do all that we want to do here at Cornell.”
Schwab noted that the $25 million gift will not be used for the building project and there are no plans to expand the overall size of the student body, now 695, as a result of the increased endowment or space.