Albany Law School.

 

Albany Law School has received a $15 million gift from an anonymous donor—the largest donation in the school’s history.

Albany Dean Alicia Ouellette announced the gift Thursday in New York City during a launch event for the school’s “We Rise Together” fundraising campaign. The $15 million will be used to bolster the school’s law clinic, which offers free legal assistance to those who can’t afford an attorney. The clinic, which will now be endowed, is being renamed the Justice Center at Albany Law School in honor of the gift.

“This gift will empower us to change our world for the better, one client at a time, one student at a time, and multiply the impact of an Albany Law School education in a monumental way,” Ouellette told attendees at the dinner, calling it a “transformative moment” for the school.

She offered no clues about the donor’s identity, saying only that it is a supporter who has taken a “leap of faith” with the school.

Alicia Ouellette.

The new fundraising campaign aims to raise at least $30 million by the end of 2021, and Albany is well on its way to hit that goal. Ouellette said Thursday that it has already secured commitments for $22 million. (The school’s endowment currently sits at about $65 million.)

Money generated by the fundraising campaign will go toward a scholarship endowment as well as technological infrastructure, academic facilities, and the creation of innovating programs. The school’s clinics will also benefit, and the funding will help the school maintain its independent status, Ouellette said Thursday. The number of independent law school unattached to larger universities has been in decline in recent years.

“This transformative gift and campaign signal an incredible step in the 167-year history of Albany Law School as it forges a path to sustained independence, increased innovation, and expanded impact,” said Jeffrey Schanz, Albany Law’s vice president for institutional advancement.