Briefing Room


Commitment to diversity leads to gift

April 5, 2012 | Alumni

The game at Ohio Stadium only held the interest of Tom Kahle ’75 for so long.

While the Buckeyes put points on the board against Indiana University on Nov. 5, Kahle was in deep conversation with his companions, Dean Alan Michaels and Professor Sharon Davies. The conversation turned to the subject of Davies’ recently published book, Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America, and her work for the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

When Kahle returned home to Cincinnati, he ran an online query to learn more about the Kirwan Institute. He was impressed by its research and mission of partner­ing with people worldwide to explore ways of creating and expanding opportunity for all.

He and his wife, Kathy, had been evaluating institutions that made a difference in their lives, and they were preparing to make planned gifts to those important entities. “We wanted to help those institutions serve other people going forward,” he said.

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law was an obvious candidate for Kahle, a partner at Baker Hostetler and a former co-leader of the firm’s health care industry team. His successful practice in business and corporate law was founded in the education he received at Ohio State. But today’s students, Kahle said, face greater challenges than he did as a law student.

The Kahles’ gift will establish an endowment that will support scholarships for minority students at Moritz. A portion also will be given to the Kirwan Institute.

“I think the issues of racial diversity in our society, but in particular within the law, are complex,” Kahle said. “I wanted to do something to see if I couldn’t help increase the level of diversity within the law. I think the work of the Kirwan Institute helps move the ball forward.”

For Kahle, giving to Moritz and the Kirwan Institute served personal goals. Diverse workplaces, he believes, lead to a richer environment and higher-quality work product.

“For many reasons, the legal profession is not as diverse as it should be,” Kahle said. “One of the ways to address that problem is to provide some targeted financial assistance.”