News & Events
Ohio State Alum Donates $30 Million to Law School
Moritz gift is university's single largest
June 28, 2001
In the largest single gift ever made to the university - and perhaps the largest ever cash gift to a U.S. law school - a Columbus attorney has donated $30 million to the Ohio State College of Law to provide student scholarships, enhance the college's support for faculty programs, and support its efforts to become one of the nation's top 10 public law schools.
Michael E. Moritz, of Dublin, Ohio, is a partner in the Columbus law firm Baker & Hostetler and a former director of Cardinal Health Inc. He also is a dual Ohio State graduate: B.S., business administration, 1958; and J.D., 1961, graduating at the top of his law class. "By funding programs to enhance faculty chairs, scholarships, and the Dean’s Fund, we will continue the legacy that Dean (Gregory H.) Williams is leaving to Ohio State," Moritz said. "Ohio State has the potential to become a top-10 law school, public or private. With targeted resources that help to attract true leaders in both faculty and students, we can make a good school a great one."
Williams, who has led the law school since 1993 and has directed its impressive movement in both national rankings and fund raising, will become the 11th president of the City College of the UniversiNew York (CUNY) this summer. The Ohio State University Board of Trustees is expected today to approve the appointment of Nancy Hardin Rogers — currently vice provost of academic administration, who also holds the Joseph S. Platt-Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur Professorship in Law — to replace Williams.
Ohio State President William E. Kirwan praised Moritz's generosity as "truly exceptional." In recognition of Moritz’s distinguished career as an attorney, his longtime support of Ohio State, and his ongoing advocacy for the College of Law, the school will be named the Michael E. Moritz College of Law.
"We are enormously grateful to Mike Moritz. Gifts of this scope and magnitude are rare anywhere in higher education," said Ohio State President William E. Kirwan. "Ohio State's College of Law is already highly ranked and is poised to enter the very top tier of law schools nationwide. Mike's truly exceptional generosity at this crucial point will have a profound impact on the college that will bear his name. and it will significantly advance the top-tier aspirations of our educational efforts."
College of Law Dean Gregory H. Williams said that Moritz's donation will transform the law school. "Through his gift, Mike Moritz joins us in laying the foundation for an incredible future," he said. "This gift will allow us to attract top students while recruiting and retaining some of the nation's leading law professors. We are greatful for his support of our educational efforts."
The gift creates the Michael E. Moritz Merit Scholars Program, which will provide full tuition and a stipend to 30 Ohio State law students; finance leadership awards to three students each year; and establish four endowed faculty chairs:
- The Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, named in recognition of of Moritz's high regard for Williams.
- The Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
- The Frank R. Strong Chair in Law. Strong, of Prairie Village, Kan., was dean of the college from 1952 to 1965.
- The Robert J. Lynn Chair in Law. Lynn, of Columbus, earned his J.D. degree from Ohio State in 1949 and was a faculty member at the college from 1957 to 1989.
In addition, the gift creates the Gregory H. Williams Dean's Fund for Excellence, also named for Williams. The annual interest income from this endowed fund will enable the college to capitalize upon emerging new trends, opportunities and priorities.
The Honorable Robert M. Duncan, a member of the university's board of trustees and a 1952 law school graduate, is a longtime friend of Moritz's. "It is a complete joy to know that this gift comes from a person who stands for quality and excellence — just as the college does," Duncan said. "He was not only an outstanding student, but also has reached the top of his profession."
Moritz has distinguished himself through his success in the legal profession, his work in the business community, and his service in civic circles. After graduating at the top of his class, he received the second highest score on the Ohio Bar Exam in 1961. He has been a partner at Baker & Hostetler since 1980, when it merged with his firm, Moritz, McClure, Hughes, & Kerscher. In addition to Cardinal Health, he has been a director for Pharmacy Systems, Inc. and the Pickett Hotel Company. He has served as president of the Capital City Young Republicans Club, trustee of the Kenyon Festival Theatre, and commissioner of the Ohio Elections Commission. At Ohio State, he has served as a director of The Ohio State University Foundation since 1990 and on the Max M. Fisher College of Business Campaign Committee since 1994.
Moritz's long and generous history of giving to Ohio State includes support of the Fisher College of Business (including creation of the Moritz Family MBA Scholarship), the Wexner center for the Arts, the Department of Athletics, and WOSU Stations, in addition to the College of Law.
This most recent gift is part of ongoing fund-raising efforts in support of The Ohio State University Academic Plan, following the success of the university's $1.23 billion "Affirm Thy Friendship" Campaign. As was true for 99 percent of the private gifts received during that campaign, Moritz’s gift was designated, by its donor, to support specific projects and is not available for other purposes.