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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, July 13, 2007

Law School Naming Rights: $25 Million

Interesting article in the National Law Journal: The Price of Legacy: $25 million, by Leigh Jones:

Want a law school named in your honor? Be prepared to chip in about $25 million. That's the going rate for donors who want their names as part of a law school's official moniker, according to a recent study conducted by a law professor at Nova Southeastern University. The study by Robert Jarvis found that although paying for a law school's name is dramatically cheaper than the $100 million price tags that some medical schools have, the naming privilege is more expensive than, say, business, pharmacy or theatre schools.

The study is A Brief History of Law School Names, 56 J. Legal Educ. 388 (2006).  The article reports that law school naming rights have been sold for these amounts in recent years:

  • $115 million:  Arizona (1999)
  • $30 million:  Ohio State (2001), UNLV (1996), Utah (2001)
  • $20-$30 million:  Temple (1999)
  • $20 million:  Denver (2004), SMU (2001)
  • $10 million:  Florida (1999)
  • $3 million:  Nova (1989)

The article concludes:  "[T]he current market rate for a law school's name has been set (in round figures) at about $25 million.  (As it happens, this is the exact figure the University of Pittsburgh pegged its law school at when it announced a lengthy list of naming opportunities.)"

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The Naming Rights price tag of $25 million to name a Law School lacks depth of perspective.

There are many factors that impact the relative perceived value and accompanying Ask Amount to name a law school including which university you are referring to; historical background, achievements and presence in the local, state and national legal community; the perceptions of the donor community towards the school; the naming gifts received for other colleges / school at the university; the current fundraising goals and how the Law School fits into the public persona of the university relative to the School of Business and Medicine, the number one and number two ranked naming rights assets of a university; the relative ask amounts of peer organizations in the city / state and national community.

Over the last several years there has been a significant upward shift in the ask amounts for naming opportunities in higher education. The University of Pittsburgh set the ASK AMOUNT for their Law School in 2006. Once a university commits to a number they seem to feel locked in for a period of time. If the Univ. of Pittsburgh were to be asked today what the ask amount should be it may be a substantially different number.

Marquette - Eckstein Law School gift 2007
$51 million

University of Minnesota - Ask Amount to name
the Law School $100,000,000 in July 2007

At UCLA there have been numerous named gifts well above the aforementioned $25 million level including:

UCLA Geffen School of Medicine - $200 million

UCLA Samual School of Engineering - $35 million
prior to 2005

There are many other recent examples that would allow naming committees to benchmark the ask amounts for high profile naming rights such as a law school. It takes time to pull this type of information together, time that is well spent relative to the implied stewardship discussions with potential donors.

Posted by: Terry Burton | Jul 17, 2007 8:49:16 PM

A former Roger William University board chairman Ralph Pappito recently used the N Word during a board meeting on diversity of all things. Mr. Pappito has since apologized and asked that his name be removed from the law school due to protest from people in Rhode Island and more importantly from the faculty and students.Some interesting notes:

3 board members who complained were removed from the board.

According the the university president this is not the first time he has made racist remarks.

His request to have his name removed has been granted.

Please click the picture below of Matt Jerzyjk the editor of the blog Rhode Island Future and one of the student activist who started a petition for the name change and who made sure this story didn't die. Congrats and kudos to Mr. Jerzyk.



Posted by: George Cook | Jul 19, 2007 5:21:34 PM