$30 Million Gift to Drexel’s Earle Mack School of Law Will Fuel Growth of Pa.’s Newest Law School
May 1, 2008
Drexel University’s law school, which welcomed its inaugural class in August 2006, will be named in honor of philanthropist Earle Mack, Drexel Class of ’59, a businessman, arts advocate and former U.S. ambassador to Finland, at a ceremony May 1, President Constantine Papadakis announced.
A $30 million gift consists of $15 million from Mack with guarantees that an additional $15 million in new appropriations and funds will be contributed by Drexel and donors. These new funds will be in addition to what already has been allocated by Drexel and additional donations. The Earle Mack School of Law is the Keystone State’s newest law school, first to open in Greater Philadelphia in more than 30 years and first established by a nationally ranked doctoral university in more than 25 years. This gift is the largest to a Pennsylvania law school and is among the top six gifts given to a law school in the United States.
Mack’s gift to the endowment will help the School continue to attract highly qualified students and faculty and enhance its innovative, distinctive brand of legal education. It will guarantee enhanced continued academic excellence at the school. The establishment of Drexel Law has given the University the distinction of joining just 24 other top-ranked private universities that have both law and medical schools.
The naming ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Earle Mack School of Law, Market Street between 33rd and 34th streets. Edward G. Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania; George Pataki, former governor of New York and now counsel at Chadbourne & Parke LLP; David Rudenstine, dean of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University; and John R. Drexel IV, direct descendant of University founder Anthony J. Drexel and president of Drexel Associates, will join the University community in toasting Mack and the newly named School.
Among the other distinguished guests are Peter Martins, ballet master in chief of the New York City Ballet, and Barry Scheck, co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
The ceremony will highlight the long road Drexel Law has traveled in just a few years. A plan to establish a law school stemmed from efforts to further diversify Drexel’s offerings after the University acquired medical, nursing and public health schools in 2002. Since that plan was put on the fast track in 2005, the Earle Mack School of Law has recruited its first two classes, its inaugural faculty and a dean, Roger J. Dennis, and employers for its cooperative education program, which gives students real-world professional experience.
The School has also moved into a state-of-the-art building (January 2007) and received provisional accreditation in February at the earliest time allowed under American Bar Association guidelines.
“We are grateful to Ambassador Mack for his generosity and dedication to Drexel University,” Papadakis said. “Transformative gifts from our alumni spread the power of a Drexel education across the generations. By naming the Earle Mack School of Law, we recognize his public service and life as an outstanding Drexel alumnus.”
Mack, who attended Fordham Law School, has long been involved in legal education. He served on the board and executive committee of Yeshiva University and also served from 1992 to 2004 as chairman of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law board, which he joined in 1980. He was elected chairman emeritus upon his retirement from the board.
Mack’s relationship with the Drexel community is cherished. In 1992, he was named a centennial inductee to The Drexel 100, the University’s most prestigious alumni society, and in 2006, he received an honorary Drexel doctorate.
“I am proud and delighted to be able to support Drexel University, an institution that shaped my life, inspired my commitment to social and philanthropic activities and got my career going,” Mack said. “As a proud alumnus, I know Drexel’s unique approach to education ensures that graduates of this law school will gain the values, skills and knowledge they will need to serve their clients and the community with honor.”
Dennis said: “The quest for justice under the rule of law is a central value of our society. Ambassador Mack’s gift will provide us with the resources to support an outstanding program of legal education devoted to teaching, research and service, focused on this core value. Ambassador Mack’s life in service to his community and country will serve as a constant reminder to our students and faculty that acting in support of the common good is what makes being a lawyer a noble profession.”
In his long career, Mack served as a senior partner of The Mack Company, a prominent real estate development, investment and management firm established about a century ago, and became a founding board member of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. after The Mack Company merged with Cali Realty in 1997.
Mack’s commitment to public service includes his appointment by Pataki as chairman and chief executive officer of the New York State Council on the Arts. He became chairman emeritus, and Pataki presented him with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award in 2000 for outstanding leadership in the arts. He’s been an adviser on various matters to the past three governors of New York.
Mack has produced and/or co-produced notable films and plays and produced the Oscar-nominated “The Children of Theatre Street,” a 1977 feature documentary on Russia’s Vaganova Choreographic Institute (Kirov Ballet School) narrated by Princess Grace of Monaco. This is Princess Grace’s last major appearance in a film.
Mack’s gift will help Drexel Law build an identity that stands apart from other schools at a time when law and legal education are changing. Law school graduates are expected to hit the ground running — not learn the ropes for several months or years until they are prepared to carry their weight. That’s one of the benefits of cooperative education, which gives students the opportunity to augment classroom study with professional experience at law firms, courts, nonprofit organizations and other places where a mastery of the law can be cultivated.
About 100 employers have joined Drexel Law as cooperative education partners. The Earle Mack School of Law is one of only two law schools in the country to employ the cooperative education approach to legal education.
Students gain additional real-world experience through the School’s pro bono service program, which strives to educate them about their ethical responsibility to provide assistance and improve access to legal services throughout their careers.
Other distinguishing features of the School are its concentrations in cutting-edge, high-growth areas of the law. Those concentrations — rooted in Drexel’s traditional strengths in technology and business — are intellectual property, health care and entrepreneurial business.
The academic legal community as well as future attorneys have responded enthusiastically to Drexel Law. More than 600 applications for 12 teaching positions for the 2006-07 academic year were received, and the School has since built a growing faculty of scholars who have experience as both law professors and practicing members of the bar. Of more than 1,700 applicants for the inaugural class, 180 enrolled. Students from the second class had a mean GPA of 3.4 and LSAT score of 158.
News media contact:
Brian Rossiter, Drexel News Bureau
215-895-2705, 267-228-5599 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org