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A record-breaking, $92.5 million campaign: promise matched

“The quality of education we can provide today surpasses anything we’ve been able to do before. We’ve set new heights, new bars, new dreams for our students because our alumni and supporters saw what we could do. I’ve had the privilege of working with the finest, most selfless, and most visionary humans we’ve ever known. You’ve ensured the future of our Law School, and I can’t thank you enough.”
Lauren Robel, Dean and Val Nolan Professor of Law

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In June 2010, the IU Maurer School of Law concluded its Matching the Promise campaign, the most historic and transformational fundraising effort the School has ever known.

At the beginning of the campaign, in July 2003, the fundraising goal for the Law School was set at $30 million. At the time it seemed a bleak prospect.

“I’ve had the good privilege of serving on our Board of Visitors,” said Bob Kassing, JD’64, “and I knew the history of giving at the board level had been about 25 percent. So if our goal was $30 million, that was about $7.5 million we were going to have to raise just from the board. We figured out a way to set some goals to encourage giving, but even then we were still coming up short.”

Enter the Lilly Endowment. In December 2007, Dean Lauren Robel got the phone call that changed the momentum of the campaign, and the future of the Law School. The caller was Sara B. Cobb, the Endowment’s vice president for education. She told Robel that the Lilly Endowment was making a $25 million gift to the Law School to use however she saw fit.

At the time, Indiana Law’s faculty were being successfully recruited away for higher salaries. Robel put an end to that immediately. Bolstered by the $25 million gift from the Lilly Endowment, she was able to provide better offers to existing faculty and recruit five exceptional scholars from around the country.

One year later, Michael S. “Mickey” Maurer, JD’67, and his wife, Janie, stood in an overflowing Moot Court Room to announce a $35 million gift entirely for student scholarships.

“We’re all trying to solidify and enhance the tremendous gains this Law School has made in the last few years under the leadership of Dean Robel,” Maurer said. “Many of us wouldn’t be so committed or involved if it weren’t for her. She will know what to do with these gifts. Our gift to this campaign gave Janie and me such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.”

The Maurer and Lilly Endowment gifts put the Law School in a tremendous position for success.

“Those two gifts just changed the character and momentum of this campaign forever,” said Kassing. “They enabled us to drive the campaign home, in our view.”

While those gifts built the cornerstone of the Matching the Promise campaign, it was the generosity, kindness, and vision from countless others that allowed the campaign to achieve such success. Whether it was a seven-figure check from an alumnus or $25 from a staff member, every dollar is going toward making a tangible difference in providing an affordable legal education that rivals the best in the country.

In November 2010, the School brought together alumni, donors, faculty, and students to celebrate the success of the campaign.

“I could talk about the impact of your support in numbers,” Robel told the crowded room. “They’re phenomenal. But I’d rather have all the students who are receiving scholarships stand up.”

At that request, nearly every student in the crowd stood up.

“The quality of education we can provide today surpasses anything we’ve been able to do before,” Robel said. “We’ve set new heights, new bars, new dreams for our students because our alumni and supporters saw what we could do. I’ve had the privilege of working with the finest, most selfless, and most visionary humans we’ve ever known. You’ve ensured the future of our Law School, and I can’t thank you enough.”

Robel and Maurer credited the leadership of Bill Hunt, JD’69, the campaign chair, and Kassing, chair of the development committee for the Board of Visitors, with the phenomenal success of the fundraising campaign.

“These are two extraordinary people,” Maurer, who chaired the previous fundraising campaign, said. “I’m hoping that one day in the future, after we have another extremely successful campaign, that Bob and Bill will be invited to a celebration like this and remember the successes they had.”

Watch a video about the Matching the Promise Campaign.