Hofstra names law school after pharmaceutical tycoon

Hofstra University will name its law school after a pharmaceutical tycoon who took a stab at law school at age 50 and became valedictorian. The new name, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, is a result of Deane’s whopping $20 million donation — the school’s biggest gift to date.

The endowment, which essentially acts as a savings account over the life of the school, will be focused on students, said Nora Demleitner, dean of the 40-year-old law school. That means “more scholarship assistance and activities in the law school that help the students build a portfolio and professional experience,” she said.

A couple banners sprinkled throughout the school advertise the name change, and permanent signage and a rebranded website will debut in a couple months, she said. The naming news comes 30 years after Deane graduated from the Hempstead, N.Y. law school at the top of his class, receiving awards for both constitutional law and evidence.

“He really threw himself into the law school,” Demleitner said. “He was a real mentor kind of an adult in a class of 20-somethings. The faculty enjoyed having him here.”

Before his later-in-life law school days, he spent nearly three years building up Endo Laboratories into one of the largest privately-held pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. before selling it to DuPont.

He’s stayed connected to the school and is chair emeritus of the university’s board of trustees and endowed a Distinguished Professorship in Constitutional Law and a law school scholarship with his wife.

This year, the University of Maryland School of Law also got a new name, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, as a result of a $30 million donation from the W.P. Carey Foundation.

This won’t be the first time Deane will see his name splashed on a building. Deane and his wife, Barbara, are big donors of Mount Sinai Medical Center, where the Barbara and Maurice Deane Prostate Health & Research Center is named in their honor.