Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Pepperdine University School of Law are celebrating sizable donations that will expand their offerings.
Case Western on Tuesday announced a $10 million gift from alumnus Coleman Burke, which will be used to launch a new environmental law center. It’s the largest donation in the school’s 126-year history.
Meanwhile, Pepperdine unveiled a new $2 million donation from Carrol and Rex Parris, which will endow the five-year-old Parris Institute for Professional Formation. Law dean Paul Caron noted on his TaxProf Blog that the Malibu law school has raised $20 million in endowment gifts over the last two years.
Rex Parris is a Southern California trial lawyer, and the couple’s three children graduated from Pepperdine Law. They gave the law school $1 million in 2014 to establish the professional formation institute, which aims to aid first-year law students in their professional development. The program helps students plan out their law school experience, exposes them to different aspects of the legal profession, brings in mentors and offers character training. The latest gift will ensure that the program continues while also expanding it to second-and-third year students.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to shape the character of the young men and women who come to Pepperdine Law for a premiere legal education,” said Carrol Parris in an announcement of the gift. “Beyond expanding the skill sets of these students, the Parris Institute perhaps most importantly connects future lawyers with current legal professionals who give them practical advice on how to use those skills.”
At Case Western, the new Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law will increase the school’s environmental law course offerings and serve as a research hub. The new center will be led by environmental law scholar Jonathan Adler.
“Our natural world faces increasingly critical and complex environmental challenges,” said Burke, who graduated from Case Western Law in 1970. “This center will combine the law school’s significant expertise in the subject with the university’s broader related strengths to make meaningful contributions to address them.”
Burke is the founder and managing partner of several commercial real estate companies with holdings across the country. A decade earlier, Burke endowed a professorship in honor of his law school mentor Leon Gabinet.
The center will take an interdisciplinary approach to environmental law issues, according to Adler.
“Today’s environmental problems require a willingness to work outside and across disciplinary boundaries,” he said. “It is our hope that this center will foster productive dialogue and analysis of these issues and prepare a new generation of environmental lawyers.”
The center’s first large event will take place this fall, with a symposium looking at the 50-year anniversary of the Environmental Protection Agency.