Stephen Ross, an NYU School of Law alumnus and owner of the Miami Dolphins football franchise, has gifted the law school $20 million, most in the form of a bequest, the largest donation the school has ever received.
As a bequest, the money will be delivered to the law school upon Ross’s death, as opposed to it being delivered in the immediate future. However, faculty and students alike are already buzzing at the prospect of improvements in infrastructure that will likely occur as a result of the donation.
While many opportunities for change have now opened up for the law school, tuition is a constant concern in the back of the faculty members’ minds. NYU School of Law Dean Trevor Morrison hopes to use the gift to improve students’ financial situations.
“This gift is unrestricted, which gives the law school the freedom to use funds for whatever our priorities may be at a given time,” Morrison said. “Right now, we are placing a high priority on increasing funding available for student financial aid.”
Law school students also want to see these funds allocated for financial aid. Third-year law students Colinford Mattis said it is important that the school eases the pressure of higher education tuition.
“I’m very happy to hear they want to invest more in financial aid,” Mattis said. “Financing a legal education, especially in New York City, is very challenging and a large concern for students paying back debt. I encourage the university to take this consideration very seriously. It will by and large help students burdened by financial constraints.”
Michael Gsovski, a second-year law student, echoes these wishes, adding that the usage of funds of this nature for construction would not be in the best interest of students and staff alike.
“It’s great that NYU [School of Law] is getting this much money,” said Gsovski. “My only concern is that it is used to help those who need help, either directly by sponsoring clinics or indirectly by helping public interest students. We have enough old wood panels and leather couches.”
Though financial aid is a widely discussed topic in regards to this bequest, the magnitude of the gift allows the school to consider investing in other opportunities for the school as well. Through these investments, Morrison confirms a bright future for the law school.
“This donation will help assure that NYU remains one of the nation’s leading and most innovative law schools,” Morrison said. “We also hope that Stephen Ross’s extraordinary generosity may inspire others to support the exceptional students, program, and scholarship here at the law school.”
Mattis voiced his hopes for making a lasting impact similar to Ross’s.
“It’s great that an alumnus is participating in philanthropy by giving back to the organization that helped them,” Mattis said. “It speaks to the quality of the education and the community. I hope that as a future alumnus, I feel so strongly about NYU and I can contribute monetarily as well.”
Email Alice Zhang at [email protected]
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the gift as an “endowment.” Also, the article has been updated to reflect that most of the gift was in the form of a bequest.