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Law School to change name following record-breaking donation

Jessa Reid Bolling, Assistant News Editor

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The University of Alabama School of Law announced a record-breaking donation on Sept. 20 from business executive and attorney Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. Culverhouse will donate a total of $26.5 million to the law school.

The School of Law will be renamed the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law in recognition of Culverhouse’s generosity.

This financial gift is the largest in the University’s history. The amount will be paid over the next four years, and the University has already received more than $11 million of the $26.5 million donation.

Culverhouse has served as a trial attorney for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of enforcement as well as assistant attorney for the United States Department of Justice before serving in private practice for 20 years.

Culverhouse is currently chief executive officer and owner of Palmer Ranch Holdings in Sarasota County, Florida. He is also the principal in Culverhouse Limited Partnerships and invests in real estate, securities and hedge funds.

University president Stuart Bell said that this donation creates an even more promising future for the law school and the communities law school students will impact once they enter into the workforce.

“The future is not only bright but it beckons us to also look ahead at the impact that will be made for our students, the academic community and citizens across the globe,” Bell said. “But with that promising future comes a very high expectation. We must continue to grow and further our undertaking of producing outstanding, ethical and highly skilled attorneys and with this charitable investment announced today, we will further advance that cause and the standing of the UA law school.”

Culverhouse Jr. watches as his portrait is unveiled by President Stuart Bell and Law School Dean Mark Brandon. CW/ Jessa Reid Bolling

Culverhouse, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has family ties to the University. The Culverhouse School of Business is named for his father, Hugh F. Culverhouse Sr., and his mother, Joy McCann Culverhouse, was on the golf team in the early 1940s. Culverhouse Jr. and his wife Eliza have donated $2.25 million in scholarships to the women’s golf team at the University since 2015 and $5.3 million to the business school since 2012.

“I want this law school to not be mentioned solely as in the top of public law schools,” Culverhouse Jr. said. “I want this law school to be mentioned in the top of all law schools and I think we can do it.”

Culverhouse Jr. said his decision to make the donation was his desire to see students have the ability to pursue any type of career in law that they choose, whether it be working at a large law firm, for the government or in a small town.

“Donating money is one thing,” Culverhouse Jr. said. “Following up and being a steward of the money is a whole different thing. I’ve been on this campus long enough to know you just don’t give money and run. That doesn’t help. You stay and that’s what we plan to do.”

Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. addresses the crowd during an on-campus ceremony. CW/ Jessa Reid Bolling

Mark Brandon, dean of the University’s School of Law, said a gift of this magnitude has the ability to take the law school “to the next level.”

“Quite honestly, it’s a gift that leaves me in awe,” Brandon said. “Awe of Hugh’s capacity for generosity, awe for the good fortune that he has become a friend of the law school, awe of the impact that his generosity can have on the future of the law school. It is fit and right that the law school bear his name.”

This donation will establish the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law Endowment for Excellence. Brandon said that the gift will allow the law school to expand financial support to attract more talented students to study law at the University and to allow more students to graduate with less debt. The law school will also use the fund to enhance its facilities, support a 21st century law library and provide additional career opportunities for students.

“Over time, Hugh’s far-reaching gift will touch students’ lives in ways as significant as they are immeasurable,” said Brandon.

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Law School to change name following record-breaking donation