The Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis is now Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

University officials announced on Dec. 1 that attorney and civic leader Robert McKinney had donated $24 million to the law school. Matching funds provided by the university brought the total gift to $31.5 million.

“This is the largest gift in the history of the school,” university president Michael McRobbie said during a press conference.

The bulk of the gift, $17.5 million, will be used to establish the McKinney Family Scholarships, which will help students pay for their legal educations. The money also will be used to establish five endowed chairs.

The announcement came three years after Indiana’s other public law school, in Bloomington, was renamed in honor of alumnus Michael S. “Mickey” Maurer, who donated $35 million.

McKinney obtained his J.D. from the Bloomington school in 1952 but also took classes at the Indianapolis campus, McRobbie said. The Korean War interrupted his time at law school; the Navy called him back to serve, McKinney said.

He was a founding partner of Indianapolis law firm Bose McKinney & Evans, from which he retired in 1992. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of the First Indiana Corp. until his retirement in 2005; and on the Indiana University Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1998.

His gift came with “some strings attached,” McKinney said. “One goal is to be in the top 30 law schools in the country. I know that’s a tough requirement, but I’m confident they can do it.”

U.S. News & World Report ranks the Indianapolis law school No. 79 out of 200 American Bar Association-approved schools. Its Bloomington counterpart is ranked No. 23.

“It is impossible to overstate the impact of this gift upon the law school, the campus and the state,” said law dean Gary Roberts. “It provides for faculty chairs and student support to create an unparalleled resource with which to realize the aspirations of our school: to become one of the finest public law schools in the nation.”

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