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U of M Law School Fundraising Effort Surpasses Its Goal University News
For release: January 20, 2010

For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843

Officials of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis have announced that the school’s fundraising campaign has raised significantly more than its stated goal of $12 million. The total thus far is greater than $12,547,000, and the campaign is continuing.

The announcement was made last Saturday to a capacity crowd of guests – approximately 2,000 people – attending a gala that celebrated the opening of a new physical facility for the law school in Downtown Memphis.

Dr. Shirley C. Raines, president of the University, said “The success of this campaign can be attributed in large part to the significant involvement of the Memphis corporate and law communities and to the many University of Memphis law alumni who passionately championed this project. The breadth and generosity of gifts demonstrates how deeply this project resonates with our donors and our community. By reaching, and now exceeding, our ambitious goal, we ensure that the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is a leader in legal education. ”

The drive was begun shortly after the University began to plan for a major change to the law school’s facilities, either a new structure or renovation of the existing on-campus, 1960s-era building. Eventually, planners began to discuss the possibility of obtaining the former U.S. Customs House and Court House at 1 North Front Street, and after negotiations with the U.S. Postal Service achieved that goal, $5.3 million of the privately donated funds were used to purchase that building from the Federal government.

Other portions of the money were used to help finance the renovation of the historic building into its current status as a modern teaching facility. Additionally, the funds will be used for scholarships for law students, for faculty professorships, and for law school program initiatives.

Kevin Smith, dean of the school, expressed appreciation to donors for their generosity. “We are tremendously grateful for the widespread and generous support that enabled the campaign goal to be exceeded. Private support will continue to be necessary if we are to provide our students – and, ultimately, the communities they will serve – with access to the highest quality legal training. We look forward to partnering with the many friends of the law school as we continue to strengthen our already robust law program.”

The U of M school was recently ranked fifth in the nation by preLaw magazine as a best value law school, based on the combination of three criteria: low tuition, the high percentage of graduates passing the Tennessee bar exam, and the success of graduates in finding employment. The school is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, the society for legal education in the United States. Graduates of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law include judges, other public servants, and leading practitioners in the Mid-South and throughout the nation.

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