Drexel Law Receives $50 Million Donation and New Trial Advocacy Building
On Wednesday, Drexel University announced that it will be renaming its law school after receiving the largest donation in the school’s history. The school will now be known as the Thomas R. Kline School of Law, after Kline made a generous $50 million donation to the university.
Drexel Law School was founded just eight years ago in 2006, and was originally named after Earle Mack after he pledged $15 million to the school. However, he was dropped when University officials decided that the school needed a stronger foundation.
Kline, the new benefactor, is a trustee of Drexel University, and has spent most of his thirty-year long career as a Philadelphia trial attorney focused on medical malpractice, personal injury, and whistleblower cases. Kline made this donation in hopes that the school can work its way to the top ranks of legal education.
In addition to his work as a trial attorney, Klein is chairman of the law school board. He stated that the idea for the trial advocacy center came from a conversation with the law school dean, Roger Dennis. Kline shared:
It is our collective vision to create a law school with national stature, the foundation is there. What we now have is an opportunity to not only build programmatic changes, but we also have a magnificent magnet that is a true gem of the City of Philadelphia.
The large donation includes the former Beneficial Savings Fund Society building in downtown Philadelphia, which will be home to a new trial advocacy center. Drexel President John. A Fry has stated that “This is a major, major moment for the law school”. He believes that this donation gives Drexel “the opportunity to put this relatively new law school on a firm financial footing and, in particular, establish it as a force for the practice of trial advocacy.”
With the new downtown building, which is projected to open in 2017, the law school will have two sites: the main campus in University City and the new campus in Center City surrounded by city and federal courts as well as many law firms. This new location is sure to give students even more opportunities to find jobs and internships while at law school.
In addition to providing a new trial advocacy center in a prime location, the donation will also give Drexel Law the means to increase scholarships and financial aid for students. This comes at a crucial time, when many top law schools are reducing tuition and increasing financial aid to entice more students due to a drop in overall law school applicants. According to recent statistics, enrollment in the nation’s top law schools has dropped 24 percent overall in the last three years. It is the hope that with this donation, more scholarships and financial aid will entice more students to enroll in Drexel Law. Currently, tuition is about $40,000 a year. These new scholarships and aid packages will relieve some of that burden and ultimately increase Drexel’s competitive edge amongst the top law schools in the nation.