Northwestern changes name after $100M donation

Northwestern University School of Law is changing its name after a $100 million gift from J.B. Pritzker, the second largest gift to a law school. It becomes the 18th law school, and the highest-ranked school,  to be named after a benefactor.

Pritzker is a venture capitalist who graduated from the law school in 1993, but made his money investing in technology companies. Forbes has estimated his net worth at $3.4 billion. His family is one of the wealthiest in the world, with 11 billionaries in the extended family. 

The law school, which will now be named the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, plans to use the funds to help the school focus on the advancement of the study of law, business, and technology, and on public interest initiatives in the areas of civil and human rights.

“Our increasingly complex and dynamic world demands lawyers who are trained to tackle difficult legal and policy problems and to work imaginatively at the interface of law, business and technology,” said Dan Rodriguez, dean of the law school. “This extraordinary gift will help provide the financial foundation for this law school to produce a new breed of highly skilled, adaptive lawyers — creative, constructive problem-solvers armed with multidisciplinary skills and resolutely committed to social justice and the rule of law.”   

The gift will also permanently endow and rename the Law School’s Entrepreneurship Law Center; it will become the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurial Law Center, honoring J.B. Pritzker’s father, who was co-founder and chief executive of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

The University of Arizona received a $135 million gift from James Rogers in 1999. That gift was far larger than any other donation until the Pritzker donation. Chapman University received $55 million from Dale Fowler in 2013, the third largest donation to a law school.