News

Antonin Scalia Law School Receives $50 Million: Largest Gift in George Mason History

$50 million bequest from the Rouse estate creates a permanent endowment to support 13 new chairs at Scalia Law School

March 7, 2019/Fairfax, VA — George Mason University announced today that the Antonin Scalia Law School has received a gift of more than $50 million, a bequest from the estate of the late Judge Allison M. Rouse and Mrs. Dorothy B. Rouse. The largest gift received in George Mason history, the bequest will create a permanent endowment—the Allison and Dorothy Rouse Endowment—to support 13 new faculty chairs of approximately $4 million each.

“This is a transformational gift that will further strengthen our law school’s position among the best in the nation and will provide a strong foundation for our university,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera said. “Philanthropy is critical to our mission, and this generous endowment will propel George Mason for years to come.”

Judge Allison M. Rouse served four years in the Army in World War II before entering law school at the University of San Francisco where he met Dorothy Barker, whom he married in 1952. They lived in Redwood City, California and were associated with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office for over a decade.

Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Rouse to serve as an associate justice of the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco in 1971. He retired from the bench in 1988 and worked for a decade as a private judge and arbitrator before he died in 2005 at the age of 86. A colleague remembers Judge Rouse as “a truly decent and caring man who cared deeply about the law.”

Mrs. Rouse was born in San Francisco, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1946, and earned her law degree in 1949. She died in May 2018 at the age of 93.

“We are grateful for this generous gift from Mrs. Rouse,” said Scalia Law School Dean Henry N. Butler. “Judge Rouse and Justice Scalia were both appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan, and Mrs. Rouse was an enthusiastic fan of Justice Scalia. Mrs. Rouse was proud to leave a legacy that supports the lasting scholarship and jurisprudence of Justice Scalia.”

George Mason’s Scalia Law School has 44 full-time faculty and a total enrollment of 525 students. A relatively young law school, Scalia Law has been in the top tier of US News Rankings for 18 consecutive years. In 2018, the school was ranked #18 in Shanghai’s Global Rankings for Law, and #19 for Scholarly Impact in Brian Leiter’s Law School Report.

“The Rouses’ gift is a major investment in the intellectual capacity of the Scalia Law School and will enable Mason to recognize, recruit, and retain outstanding faculty members – many of whom are among the most astute legal minds in the country,” Mason Provost David Wu said. “These endowed faculty chairs will further strengthen our ability to provide top-notch legal education for our students.”

This is the third historic gift received by George Mason University to support the Antonin Scalia Law School. In 2016, the George Mason University Foundation received two gifts—one for $20 million and one for $10 million—to rename the law school in honor of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Rouse gift brings the university’s Faster Farther campaign to a close with a record total of more than $678 million raised since 2008. The university-wide Faster Farther campaign was publicly launched in September 2015 with a $500 million goal. Faster Farther officially concluded December 31, 2018, with a total of more than $678 million raised to support students, faculty, research, and campus facilities. More than 73,000 donors made gifts over the decade-long course of the campaign.

About George Mason

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 36,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at gmu.edu.

News Coverage

“$50M Gift to Scalia Law School Will Fund 13 New Faculty Members” by National Law Journal