The University of Michigan Law School has landed a $33 million donation that it will use to bolster student scholarships and reduce graduate debt.
The university’s board of regents on Thursday gave final approval for the gift, from alumni real estate developer Chris Jeffries and his wife, Lisa Jeffries. The school plans to rename a building, now dubbed South Hall, as Jeffries Hall. The building, which opened in 2012, houses classrooms, clinics and administrative offices. Chris Jeffries previously donated $5 million toward the construction costs and the couple has given more than $40 million to the school since 2007.
“Law school is a unique way of disciplining your mind, and my time at Michigan was formative and memorable,” said Jeffries, who graduated from the law school in 1974. “I’m especially interested in paying the way forward for students who lack financial resources, and this gift will allow them to have opportunities and experiences they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”
In addition to student scholarships, the gift will be used for student support initiatives and will fund summer support programs.
“Their generosity is particularly meaningful because it directly supports our students, who are the heart of our mission,” said law Dean Mark West. “The Jeffries’ support also reflects one of Michigan Law’s greatest strengths: the passion and generosity of our alumni community.”
After graduating from Michigan Law, Jeffries practiced law at the Michigan firm Keywell & Rosenfeld before acting as principal in the leveraged buyout of Midwest-based automotive equipment manufacturer and metal recycler Key International Inc.
Jeffries went on to co-found real estate development firm Millennium Partners. The couple’s gift to Michigan is among the largest to a law school. It ranks as the sixth-largest on record, according to statistics compiled by the school.
The funds will count toward the law school’s Victors for Michigan Law capital campaign, which will have exceeded its $200 million goal when it ends with the calendar year.