Law School Deans, Law Schools, Money, Old People

Is Any of This Law School Naming Rights Money Going Back to the Students?

Oh Hofstra Law, you didn’t think I’d forget about you, did you? The Pride? Home of the commenter formerly known as “Hofstra 2L” (may he rest in peace)? I’m a Long Island boy, don’t ya know.

Hofstra Law School will be renamed the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, according to the New York Law Journal. For those not ankle-deep in Hofstra friends, here’s the new slang you need to know. A tipster reports: “Hofstra Law School (aka the OTHER HLS) is now the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University (aka the MAD School of Law).”

Straight outta Strong Island.

But the MAD Pride isn’t the only law school to accept big dollars in exchange for naming rights. As this trend continues, you wonder if any of this money being thrown around will benefit the actual students….

In recent years, a bunch of law schools have been selling out accepting large donations in exchange for naming rights. Loyola Law of Chicago did it. UCLA Law got into quite a kerfuffle over a controversial benefactor. I turned on Sunday Night Football to learn that the New Meadowlands is now MetLife Stadium.

Oh, sorry, that last thing is a football stadium, not a law school. But you can see how I made the mistake. Selling your name to grab some money is something we usually associate with greedy corporate interests, not institutions of higher learning.

Don’t get me wrong; there is a long and proud tradition of academic institutions putting names of people on things in exchange for a donation. You know why Harvard is called Harvard? Because John Harvard had a nice library that the school wanted.

It’s just that usually, when schools sell the right to name things, the students get something out of it. A library. A student center. A collection. Something. What about “value”?

Dean Nora V. Demleitner wrote the following to students and alumni (her complete letter is reprinted at the end of this post):

This capstone gift speaks volumes to the value of a Hofstra Law degree, both past and present, and affords us new resources as we extend the Hofstra legacy forward.

Dean Demleitner must have forgotten that Maurice A. Deane — a man now in his 80s, who enrolled at Hofstra Law at age 50, presumably just for fun — was already rolling in money before he made his way to Hofstra. As explained by the NYLJ, Deane “helped build Endo Pharmaceuticals into one of the largest privately run pharmaceutical companies in the nation,” prior to its sale in 1970 to E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.

What did Hofstra students really get out of becoming the Don’t Know Him From Adam School of Law?

The donation will approximately double the law school’s endowment to about $40 million, according to Dean Nora V. Demleitner.

She said interest from the gift will be used to help with student loans and enhance offerings like student fellowships, research and travel.

In deciding how to best use the funds from the interest, Ms. Demleitner said she was “mindful” to address important issues facing law students — finding good professional positions after graduation and attempting to control debt loads.

Okay. If you say so. I don’t think Hofstra really wants to act like “student fellowships” is the same as “finding good professional positions,” but alright.

This sounds promising. I can’t wait for Dean Demleitner to tell everybody how much tuition is coming down for Hofstra students now that the stupidly-named school has an extra $20 million and a commitment to help students “control debt loads.”

But I’m not going to hold my breath.

Hofstra Renames Law School for Contributor of $20 Million [New York Law Journal]

Earlier: Loyola Chicago Renames Building for Alumnus
Should UCLA Law School Accept Milken’s Millions?


Dear Alumni,

I am writing with the exciting news that Hofstra Law has received a $20 million gift from Maurice A. Deane ’81, a distinguished alumnus who forged a unique 30-year commitment to Hofstra when he embarked on a law degree after a successful career as a business executive. In recognition of Mr. Deane and in gratitude for the gift — the largest single gift in the history of Hofstra University — we are proudly renaming the Law School the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.

This gift to the Law School’s endowment will provide in perpetuity annual income for enhancing academic quality and student support. Most striking is that, although our school was only established four decades ago, this gift ranks among the top 20 donations to any American law school. This capstone gift speaks volumes to the value of a Hofstra Law degree, both past and present, and affords us new resources as we extend the Hofstra legacy forward.

Mr. Deane defines the kind of excellence we strive for every day at the Law School. He is a distinguished professional who built Endo Laboratories into one of the nation’s largest privately held pharmaceutical companies. After facilitating a successful sale to DuPont, Mr. Deane continued to lead the company as an independent subsidiary until his retirement.

Mr. Deane’s business success is matched by his intellectual ambition and love of the law, which he pursued later in life. At the age of 50, Mr. Deane enrolled in Hofstra Law and made his mark as an extraordinary student, mentor and professional role model to his classmates, graduating first in his class. Ever since, he has steadily given back to the Law School in many ways, including endowing a Distinguished Professorship in Constitutional Law and, with his wife, Barbara, a Law School scholarship and the Law Library.

Equal to Mr. Deane’s financial support has been his unflagging commitment and longstanding service to both the Law School and Hofstra University. A truly engaged member of our community, Mr. Deane has mentored many graduates, served on a number of key committees and acted as a trusted adviser in his capacity as member and chair of the university’s board of trustees.

Naming the Law School after Mr. Deane is a natural extension of the long history the man and the institution share and seems a fitting way to close out the Law School’s 40th anniversary year — a year in which we celebrate our past and turn to ambitious plans and opportunities ahead.

I hope to see many of you at a convocation we are planning to formally celebrate Mr. Deane’s generosity and rededicate the Law School in tribute to his caliber as an exceptional professional, student and alumnus.


Nora V. Demleitner
Dean and Professor of Law

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