Law Schools, Money

If Tuition Stays Down, I Don’t Give A Damn What They Call It

They're going to need a new logo.

If your law school sells its naming rights but keeps tuition flat, would you protest? That’s the question facing students at the University of Maryland School of Law. They woke up on Monday morning to find out that instead of going to an easily identifiably state law school, they’ll soon be going to something called the Francis King Carey School of Law.

(Good thing you can spell that name without the letter “T.”)

Of course, so long as U.S. News keeps identifying the school as “Maryland” in some fashion (the same way that “Levin School of Law” never obscures the University of Florida affiliation), I doubt this name change will affect how the school is regarded. And since Maryland is not raising tuition, the administration needed to raise cash in some other fashion.

So all things considered, I’m guessing Maryland Law students are pretty happy with this outcome. Right?

Why was Francis King Carey deserving of such a high honor? Because his grandson ended up being filthy rich. From the New York Times:

On Monday afternoon, the W. P. Carey Foundation plans to announce that it will give $30 million to the University of Maryland School of Law, which is in Baltimore. It will be renamed the Francis King Carey School of Law, after Mr. Carey’s grandfather, an 1880 graduate.

“It’s time to think about the future of Baltimore, a great city with a great history,” said Mr. Carey, the 80-year-old founder of W.P. Carey & Company, a corporate real estate financing firm. “The law school is now in the first tier. I’m looking forward to a joint J.D.-M.B.A. program, where it will be one big great happy family, giving people the best education imaginable, in Baltimore.”

He envisions a program linking the Carey School of Law with the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business — named for Mr. Carey’s great-great-great-grandfather after a $50 million gift from the Carey Foundation in 2006.

I wonder if Carey has an ancestor or something who ever read a legal blog? For the low, low price of $20 million, you guys could be reading the Carey Blog of Legal Antics. Hell, for $20 million you could be reading Above the Walrus for all I care. There’s no shame in having a price.

Or is there? We have heard Maryland Law students objecting not to the principle of selling out to a rich donor, but for selling out so cheaply:

$30 million seems a little cheap to rename the entire school, and I definitely like the sound of Maryland Law better than Carey Law.

Another tipster was more direct:

We’ll rename our law school for $30 million.

For $35 million we’ll [S some D].

I don’t know, $30 million seems like a lot of money to me. Here’s how the Maryland Law press release characterizes the donation:

Today the W.P. Carey Foundation announced a gift of $30 million to the University of Maryland School of Law. The gift is the largest in the School’s history, one of the top 10 largest gifts to any law school, public or private, and one of the largest in the history of the University System of Maryland.

I really think $30 million is a fine price for naming a law school.

I just hope corporations get in on the fun. It’d be awesome if people had to go to the Staples Law Center at Georgetown or the Papa John’s School of Legal Toppings in Ithaca. Sure, it’s hard to talk about the nobility of the profession when schools sell out to the highest bidder — but if this is what it takes to keep tuition down, so be it.

Maryland Renames Law School After Donation [New York Times]
Carey Foundation Donates $30M to UMDLaw [University of Maryland School of Law]

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