Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School to receive biggest donation in university’s history
BY DANA NICKEL NEWS EDITOR
Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School has received a record gift of $50 million dollars, the largest donation in Mason’s history, according to an article by The Washington Post. Mason announced on March 7 that the gift will create permanent funds for 13 new faculty chairs.
The gift comes from the estate of the late judge Allison Rouse and lawyer Dorothy Rouse, his wife. Though the couple does not have academic ties to Mason or the law school, Dorothy Rouse, who died in May 2018, was an avid fan of Henry Butler, dean of Mason’s law school. Judge Allison Rouse was appointed as an associate justice of the California Courts of Appeal by Ronald Reagan in 1971, when Reagan was governor of California. Judge Rouse died in 2005.
According The Washington Post, Butler stated, “Mrs. Rouse was proud to leave a legacy that supports the lasting scholarship and jurisprudence of Justice Scalia.”
Within the last few years, Mason has gained national attention and criticism for some gift agreements to the school and their role in the school’s academic freedom. Most of the attention has circulated around gift agreements from the Charles Koch Foundation to both Mason’s law school and economics department.
One of the gifts led to the renaming of Mason’s law school for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Some of the funding in the agreement came from the Charles Koch Foundation. Last year, Fourth Estate released a three part series surrounding gifts to Mason’s economics department as well as Mason’s law school and their agreements.
Transparent GMU, an on-campus organization at Mason that works to promote transparency in regards to Mason’s finances, also served as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Mason and the George Mason University Foundation (GMU Foundation). Additionally, a panel reviewed gift agreements at Mason last year, and recommended more faculty oversight and general transparency.
In a press release surrounding this new donation, Mason President Ángel Cabrera stated that the gift “will further strengthen our law school’s position among the best in the nation and will provide a strong foundation for our university.”