Thanks to a generous gift from UW-Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge, the University of Wisconsin Law School is well on its way to establishing an endowed chair in honor of the late Professor James E. Jones Jr.
Jones, a pioneer in equalemployment and affirmative-action policy, taught arbitration and labor law for nearly 30 years at the Law School. He was UW Law School’s first African-American professor and is expected to be the first African-American at the UW for whom a chair is named. He is remembered fondly by the many students he mentored, for the Legal Education Opportunities (LEO) program he championed, and for the Hastie Teaching Fellowship program he founded.
The goal of creating a chair in Professor Jones’s name received a major boost last November, when the Morgridges announced their $100 million gift to the university. As the largest individual gift in UW history, the Morgridge gift is an investment in faculty: it offered a one-to-one match for all contributions directed toward endowing professorships, chairs, and distinguished chairs.
In just seven months, donations to the UW campus reached $125 million, an amount the Morgridges have agreed to match. The fund will eventually support 300 endowed professorships and chairs campuswide, up from the current 142.
A committee of dedicated Law School alumni and faculty undertook to raise the funds for the Jones chair and, while that process continues, the Morgridge match will make the naming of a designation for Professor Jones a reality.
The Morgridges’ generosity has touched the Law School through another gift as well. Thomas Ragatz ’61, a graduate of both the Law School and the Business School at the UW, used the Morgridge match to realize his vision of creating a distinguished chair of business.
In part, Ragatz’s gift supports the development of an accounting course tailored especially for law students, and it reflects the value that his accounting background brought to his experiences as a practicing attorney. The coursework supported by the Ragatz chair will include business accounting fundamentals, such as trust and estate accounting, real estate accounting, and techniques for presenting financial analyses in litigation.
“We are absolutely delighted that, through the generous support of Law School alumni and the Morgridges, we will create chairs that recognize great faculty and enrich and transform the lives of our law students,” says Dean Margaret Raymond.