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Happy New Year! As we roar into 2020, the Law Center’s plans for a new facility will become more of a reality with a groundbreaking ceremony happening as early as May. Funding to achieve this decades-long dream came together very quickly last year. In mid-November, the John M. O’Quinn Foundation donated more than $16 million, a major portion of which supports construction of the new $90 million building. It is the largest gift in the law school’s history. The Foundation is named for the late attorney, philanthropist and 1967 Law Center graduate. In permanent recognition of the gift, the new facility will be named the John M. O’Quinn Law Building. The name of the law school will remain the University of Houston Law Center.

The O’Quinn donation is part of the overwhelming support that brought the building project together. In January, alumni and friends of the school met the $10 million goal serving as a “down payment” to show lawmakers broad support for the building; it was followed in May by a special legislative appropriation of which $38 million was allocated to the Law Center; and in August, the University also allocated $30 million investment to the building efforts.

Fundraising continues with the final “Capstone” phase to raise an additional $3 million by May 31. To that end, an anonymous donor has pledged a $1 million match as an incentive to reach the $3 million goal. These additional monies are for special programs, facilities, upgrades, landscaping and various amenities to enhance the student learning experience in the new Law Center. If you haven’t already, consider joining our effort as we conclude the building campaign to ensure that our future space matches the caliber of programs, faculty, students, alumni and staff. To contribute to “Capstone” or learn more, please contact Magda M. Herrera, Senior Director of Advancement, at 713-743-3719 or mmherrera@uh.edu.

While excited about the prospects of the coming year, I am equally proud of what we accomplished in the year just ended. The school’s standing remains strong with three specialty programs maintaining their long-held positions among the Top 10 in the nation, according to U.S News & World Report. The school earned numerous top rankings from other publications and institutions in a wide range of categories from LL.M. programs and “Best Practical Training” to “Most Diverse” and “Go-To Law Schools.” Our entering class last year matched record-setting academic standards set the year before. We expanded our International Law and Immigration programs with renowned new faculty, appointed an executive director for our global outreach and graduate programs, and enhanced our bar prep efforts. Two faculty members spent part of the year overseas as Fulbright scholars. We continued to reach out to alumni with receptions in major cities in the U.S. and Mexico while maintaining a strong presence in Houston with our clinical outreach and special community service programs. As the nation became more troubled and divided, we launched a concerted effort to promote peace and community with diverse speakers, anti-bullying programs for public school students, videos, and “Heritage Month” activities spotlighting the accomplishments of African American, Asian American, Hispanic and women graduates.

Thanks to the efforts of the entire Law Center community, my fifth year as dean was successful in many ways. With your continued support, 2020 promises to be even better.

Sincerely,

Leonard M. Baynes
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center


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