Earle Mack School of Law Celebrates New Name and Namesake
May 1, 2008 — Drexel University leaders joined law students and law professors in celebrating the newly renamed Earle Mack School of Law during a gala ceremony on May 1.
Gov. Edward G. Rendell and former New York Gov. George Pataki were among the luminaries who joined hundreds of law students, professors and administrators in a champagne toast to the school’s namesake, a former ambassador to Finland and a 1959 Drexel alumnus.
The celebration, held across the street from the law school, was attended by David Rudenstine, dean of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, attorney Barry Scheck, co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project at Cardozo, and Peter Martins, ballet master in chief of the New York City Ballet.
The event honored Mack’s $15 million gift that will be matched with $15 million more in new
appropriations and funds from Drexel and other donors to create an endowment that will support the law school.
“The endowment income from Ambassador Mack’s gift will provide us with the resources to build a truly great and distinctive law school,” Dean Roger Dennis said. “Our students, our staff and our faculty are incredibly grateful to the ambassador for his leadership and his contributions to our enterprise.”
A successful businessman, diplomat and arts advocate, Mack was senior partner of the Mack company, a prominent real-estate development, investment and management firm. After serving as chairman of the New York State Racing Commission and the New York State Council on the Arts, he was appointed United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Finland. From 1980 to 2004, he held a seat on the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law board, chairing the panel for 12 years.
Rendell praised Mack’s commitment to community service.
“Ambassador Mack and the entire family are known for their philanthropy, but not just their philanthropy, not just their willingness to write checks for good causes, but their willingness to roll up their sleeves to work and to lead by example,” Rendell said. “This is a great day for the legal community, a great day for the commonwealth and a great day for the city of Philadelphia.”
Pataki predicted Drexel and its law school will benefit from the loyalty, passion and commitment to excellence that Mack demonstrated through his public service in New York, his diplomacy in Finland and his leadership on Cardozo’s board.
“I have 100 percent confidence that, in a very short time, among the pantheon of great law schools in the United States of America will be the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel,” Pataki said.
John R. Drexel IV, a descendant of university founder Anthony J. Drexel, said the gift to the school was a natural outgrowth of his longtime friend’s interests and passions.
“Earle always has been a person who’s drawn to challenge and adventure,” Drexel said.
Mack, who earned letters on Drexel’s swim and baseball teams and worked as an editor and columnist at The Triangle, said a latent fondness for his alma mater came to full flower as he realized how his education affected his life.
“I sometimes didn’t realize how much my alma mater meant to me. Now I do, and today, Mack is back,” he said. “My Drexel education reinforced for me that public service and philanthropy do make a difference. These were the lessons that gave shape to my career and meaning to my life. This was the moral compass from which I navigated through my life.”
Recalling the preliminary snickers elicited by Drexel’s plans to open a college of law in 2006, President Constantine Papadakis said the school’s swift progress validates that the university’s “bold idea” was a good one.
“Look at the caliber of students and faculty our law school has attracted,” Papadakis said. “Look at Roger Dennis, our dean. Look at our more than 100 co-op partners. Look at the respect from the American Bar Association, which gave Earle Mack School of Law provisional accreditation in 18 months, the shortest time possible.”
Jacqueline Lowthert, president of the Earle Mack School of Law Student Bar Association and a second-year student, offered gratitude to Mack on behalf of her classmates.
“In addition to a financial investment, Ambassador Mack has invested his name and his reputation in the students at Earle Mack School of Law,” Lowthert said. “This generous gift represents his confidence in all of us. And I have no doubt that we will live up to our namesake and make Ambassador Mack proud.”
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