Penn State's Dickinson School of Law has announced that Lewis Katz, The Dickinson School of Law class of 1966, will deliver the keynote address at the Law School's 2009 Commencement Ceremony. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 9 in Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park. A reception for family and friends will follow in the Law School's new Lewis Katz Building.
The Law School's class of 2009 is the 130th class to attend formal graduation ceremonies and the first to attend ceremonies in University Park. Celebrating its 175th anniversary, The Dickinson School of Law has graduated more than 13,151 students during the course of its distinguished history. Founded by The Honorable John Reed in 1834, The Dickinson School of Law is the oldest law school in Pennsylvania and the fifth oldest in the nation. The Law School completed a merger with The Pennsylvania State University in 2000, and in 2006, added a law school presence to the University Park campus. It currently operates from University Park and Carlisle as the only ABA-approved unified two-location law school.
In 2007, Katz made an unprecedented $15 million gift to The Dickinson School of Law, one of the single largest acts of philanthropy in Penn State's history. In recognition of his extraordinary efforts on behalf of the Law School, the University has named its magnificent new law building in University Park the Lewis Katz Building and designated the new signature addition to the Law School's Carlisle facilities as Lewis Katz Hall.
Katz is an owner of the New Jersey Nets and a member of the Board of Governors of the National Basketball Association. He is a shareholder in the New York Yankees and a former owner of the New Jersey Devils hockey team. In each of those enterprises, he pledged a share of team profits to benefit inner-city youth.
Katz is of counsel to Katz, Ettin and Levine, the law firm he founded in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is the former owner of Kinney Parking Systems, the largest parking company in New York City, and the former chairman of Interstate Outdoor Advertising, one of the largest regional outdoor-advertising firms in the country. He served on the board of Central Parking Corporation and he is on the board of Orleans Home Builders. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center.
Katz supports a number of charitable and philanthropic causes and is director of the Katz Foundation.
Active in Jewish causes, Katz helped build two Jewish Community Centers in Cherry Hill and Margate, New Jersey, both named for his parents. He helped found a third community center, now under construction in Princeton, also named in honor of his parents. And he was instrumental in establishing a Hebrew day school that is named for his two children.
A native of Camden, New Jersey, Katz established several programs to help the children of Camden, one of the nation's poorest cities. He helped build two Boys and Girls Clubs that serve nearly 3,000 young people each year. He supported construction of a new Baptist church in the city and endows an annual scholarship program for underprivileged children in the congregation. He also has contributed generously to the city's Catholic schools.
Katz serves on the Board of Trustees of Temple University, his alma mater. He is a member of the former Board of Trustees and current Board of Counselors of The Dickinson School of Law, where he graduated first in his class.
Katz established a visiting professorship in cardiovascular research at Columbia University and awards two annual prizes to physicians and scientists engaged in such work; one honors lifetime achievement in the field with national or international impact and another awards outstanding promise in cardiovascular research or education. He recently accepted an appointment to the board of visitors at Columbia Medical School.
An interest in history prompted Katz to purchase the only known signature made by President Lincoln at Gettysburg on the occasion of his historic Gettysburg address. Lincoln's signature and an autograph book signed by other dignitaries on that day is on loan to the National Constitution Center to be displayed as part of its permanent exhibition, The Story of We the People.