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Law Graduate Stephen Susman ‘Repays Debt’ with $5 Million Gift to Alma Mater

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School of Law alumnus and benefactor Stephen Susman’s most recent gift is $5 million to help the school meet its highest priority needs.

School of Law alumnus and benefactor Stephen Susman’s most recent gift is $5 million to help the school meet its highest priority needs.

Stephen Susman, a founding partner at Susman Godfrey LLP, has made a gift of $5 million to the School of Law. In honor of this gift and his past generosity, the UT System Board of Regents has named a newly renovated space in the Law School’s Jesse Jones Building the Stephen D. Susman Academic Center. The gift will be used to meet the highest priority needs of the Law School.

Susman, a 1965 Law School graduate, privately announced the gift to his classmates during the 45th reunion of his Law School class in April.

“Three generations of my family have been trained as lawyers by the UT Law School,” Susman says. “My mother graduated in 1934, and her law degree allowed her to support our family after she was widowed when my brother and I were just eight and six. She insisted that Tommy and I both go to UT Law, so we did. My son Harry did too, and now he and I practice law together. Given all the opportunities provided to the Susman family by the UT Law School for many, many years, I am delighted — absolutely thrilled — to be repaying some of our debt to UT.”

The new Susman Academic Center will create 54 windowed faculty offices; 38 non-windowed offices; rooms for seminars and small classes; faculty and student group workspaces; and a dramatic atrium and skylights. The center will open in August 2010.

“Our new academic center will be the heart of the UT Law enterprise,” Dean Larry Sager says. “We are very pleased that it will be named the Susman Academic Center. Steve Susman is a terrific lawyer, an alum of whom we are extremely proud. And we are all deeply grateful for the wonderful gift.”

Susman founded his firm in 1980, and H. Lee Godfrey, ’69, joined him a few years later. The firm quickly became nationally recognized in the field of commercial litigation, and now has offices in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York. Susman graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Yale in 1962, and three years later earned his JD with highest honors at UT. While at the Law School, he was editor in chief of the “Texas Law Review,” a member of the Order of the Coif, and Grand Chancellor.

“We are immensely grateful to Steve for his gift,” says Robert C. Grable, president of the Board of Trustees of the Law School Foundation. “Steve is a longtime friend of the Law School. This gift continues his remarkable record of generosity, and will materially advance the foundation’s mission of supporting legal education and research, aiding students and faculty, and enhancing the overall excellence of the Law School.”

Susman and Susman Godfrey LLP have a substantial history of generous contributions to the Law School. In the past, Susman created the Susman Endowed Lecture Series on the Joy of Lawyering, and has given support to the Keeton Fellows Program in the Law School Annual Fund as well as to the Dean’s Roundtable. In addition, the Susman Family Foundation has supported the Dean’s Roundtable, the Mark G. and Judy G. Yudof Research Professorship in Law, and the William Wayne Justice Fund for Public Service.

Susman Godfrey LLP previously donated $2 million to establish the Susman Godfrey LLP Fund for Faculty Excellence, and has contributed generous amounts to the Mark G. and Judy G. Yudof Research Professorship in Law; the Susman Godfrey Endowed Moot Court Competition; the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts; and the Judge Robert M. Parker Endowed Chair in Law. The firm also sponsors annual awards for members of the Texas Law Review and has sponsored symposia organized by the Texas Law Review.

The Susman Academic Center will be adjacent to a space already named the Susman Godfrey Atrium in recognition of the firm’s past gifts to the Law School.

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