Fordham Law School launched the public phase of an ambitious $100 million fundraising campaign with a gala celebration on Nov. 14 at the New York Public Library.
The campaign—the largest in Fordham Law history—will aid the creation of a new law school building while strengthening the school’s annual fund, professorships, scholarships and centers.
Already the campaign has benefited from two of the largest gifts ever made to the school: $5 million each from T.J. Maloney, LAW ’79, and Thomas Moore, LAW ’72. Maloney’s gift will provide for the library in the Law School’s new building, while Moore’s gift will fund the Fordham Law Advocacy Center which encompasses the moot court room and trial advocacy room.
“The generosity of Mr. Moore and Mr. Maloney is a statement of their faith in the future of our school and its educational mission,” said Dean William Michael Treanor.
“These are historic gifts for this institution,” he continued. “Coming as they do at a time of economic turmoil, they represent a profound commitment to Fordham Law School and demonstrate the importance of philanthropy during a time of financial uncertainty.”
The gala, “One Hundred Million Bravos,” began with cocktails in the library’s main foyer. Befitting the school’s long history, attendees sipped on classic cocktails including Manhattans and Sloe Gin Fizzes before moving to the 6,400-square-foot, domed Celeste Bartos Forum for dinner.
The school’s new home is a particular focus of the campaign. Designed by the firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, LLC, it is positioned to join the Louvre Pyramid and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art as one of the firm’s achievements.
“Fordham’s gift to me dwarfs my gift to Fordham,” said Moore, who joins Maloney as co-chairs of the campaign committee. “This beautiful building will symbolize the strides our Law School has made into the highest echelons of legal education.”
The annual fund also is essential because it allows the school to provide students with life-changing opportunities.
Fordham Law’s student journals, for instance, are some of the most influential in the nation. In fact, the Fordham Law Journal is the fourth-most cited journal in federal and state courts. Last year, three Supreme Court decisions cited Fordham Law journals.
Fordham Law students also give back in impressive numbers, racking up an average of 100,000 hours of public service each year. The support that the annual fund provides for public interest work at the Law School was behind the Pro Bono Publico Award that the American Bar Association awarded the school’s Public Resource Center this year.
Because faculty are at the heart of any great law school, the campaign also focuses on endowed chairs, which can be established through a gift of $2 million, Treanor said.
“Fordham Law’s pragmatic approach to legal education helped me immeasurably in my journey from law practice into private equity,” Maloney said. “The chair in business law which I endowed at Fordham Law School was a good way to give back to the school—and specifically to the program—that gave me so much.”
The Francis J. Mulderig National Scholars Program serves as an umbrella for a number of named scholarships at the Law School, and there are more than 100 individual scholarships based on financial need, academic merit, career aspirations and scholarly interests.
“Having spent my first two years at Fordham as a “true evening student”—working full-time and attending classes at night—it was more of a challenge to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities the school has to offer,” said Tara Waters, LAW ’09, a Noreen E. McNamara Endowed Scholarship recipient. “This scholarship has allowed me to take time off work to gain experience that was essential to achieving my goal of living and working abroad.”
Fordham’s seven centers and institutes encompass a vast array of disciplines. The Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Center fosters the study of lawyers as trial advocates, while the Forum on Law, Culture and Society engages artists, writers and journalists in conversations about the intersections between law and culture in America.
Julie A. Lucas, Fordham Law’s assistant dean of institutional advancement, noted that a $100 million campaign would have been unheard of less than a decade ago, but the school already has reached unprecedented levels of alumni interest.
“Based on the unparalleled giving levels we have experienced over the past five years, $100 million is a realizable campaign goal,” she said. “I am confident we can achieve it.”
Father Joseph McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, in addressing the attendees at the end of the evening, called the night one for celebration of the Law School’s dedication to education marked by sense of community, rigor and an unstinting devotion to ethics.
“The Law School is a most remarkable place, an extraordinary place, a place that was born of vision, a place where the vision of its founder has been nurtured for 103 years,” Father McShane said. “The Law School has had nine deans and seven homes, but it has had one driving vision. That vision has been a transforming vision for the students of the Law School, but also for the bar and bench in New York.”
Shortly afterward, the Four Tops took the stage with a rousing version of “Baby I Need Your Loving,” and moved onto hits such as “Bernadette” and “It’s the Same Old Song.” The crowd, a mix of alumni, faculty, friends and family, filled the dance floor.
The evening also featured nouveau jazz singing sensation Rosalind Schonwald.