Following a $10 million donation from alumnus Lowell Milken on Tuesday, the UCLA School of Law plans to expand existing programs and continue to pursue private donations until at least 2012, officials say.
Milken’s donation vaulted the school past a fundraising target set through the $100 million Campaign for the UCLA School of Law, which was launched in 2008 to gather support from alumni and friends, said Laura Lavado Parker, executive director of development for professional schools.
Part of the donation will go to develop the Lowell Milken Institute of Business Law and Policy, expanding on the school’s current program. Funds will also be allocated toward student scholarships, research efforts and faculty retention and recruitment, said Rachel Moran, dean of the law school.
Currently, the business law and policy specialization is the most heavily pursued program in the school, Moran said. With funding from Milken’s gift, the program will be able to take its next step to become a larger institute, offering students a greater breadth of resources, from moot court to hands-on clinical training, she said.
“Through groundbreaking research, as well as symposia and conferences, the Lowell Milken Institute will facilitate the kind of sustained dialogue with policymakers and practitioners that is UCLA’s hallmark as a public university,” Chancellor Gene Block said in an interview.
Although Milken’s donation has led the school to achieve its fundraising goal years in advance, the law school plans to continue to seek private donations until June, Parker said.
“Private support continues to be essential for UCLA School of Law to thrive and grow,” Parker said. “Private funds must continue to be secured (for the law school) to compete alongside our peer institutions nationwide.”
Private funding is also vital to upholding the school’s values as a public university, Moran said. Although the law school is funded by the state, it requires donations such as Milken’s to engage students from a wide range of financial backgrounds, she said.
“Even though some of our money is coming from private sources, it doesn’t mean you change your values,” Moran said. “Common commitment that will make the School of Law special as a public law school means that we will be able to preserve the tradition in the future.”
As decreasing state support continues to create hardships for public universities, philanthropic efforts can make a great impact by offering “a vote of confidence” for education, Moran said.
“It’s been a shot in the arm for everyone, but we will not succumb to gloomy conditions, because there are people in our communities who are willing to step up,” she said.