Penn State Dickinson School of Law announces two largest gifts in school's history

January 18, 2007

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State University President Graham B. Spanier today announced the two largest gifts in the history of Penn State's Dickinson School of Law.

The first is a gift of $15 million from New Jersey businessman and philanthropist Lewis Katz, whose vision and dedicated efforts over the past three years facilitated the University's creation of a two-campus Dickinson School of Law with new, interconnected buildings in Carlisle, Pa., the law school's traditional home, and in University Park, the location of Penn State's largest campus.

Katz's gift ranks as one of the single largest acts of philanthropy in Penn State's history. In recognition of his gift Penn State plans to name the law school's new signature building in University Park the Lewis Katz Building; to recognize his extraordinary volunteer efforts on behalf of The Dickinson School of Law, Penn State plans to name the new signature addition to the law school's Carlisle facilities Lewis Katz Hall.

Katz said of his gift and efforts, "For 173 years, The Dickinson School of Law, my alma mater, has educated law students in Carlisle who have gone on to become leaders of our communities, of the Commonwealth and of our nation. At the same time, the law school's recent merger with Penn State University has meant dramatic improvements in faculty stature, student and faculty diversity, and career opportunities for Dickinson School of Law students and graduates. The law school's new interconnected facilities will enable the law school to sustain and strengthen all of these wonderful traditions and achievements. It is my privilege and pleasure to be in a position to help my law school in this way."

The second gift is a $4 million pledge from noted Philadelphia lawyer and trial attorney H. Laddie Montague Jr., of the firm Berger & Montague PC. Montague served as chairman of the law school's Board of Governors during a critical period between 2004 and 2005 that defined the law school's relationship with the University.

Montague's high standing with traditional law school constituencies and his commitment to excellence for the law school resulted in the agreement to establish a new law school presence in University Park while preserving the law school's traditional home in Carlisle.

In recognition of his gift and his determined efforts on behalf of The Dickinson School of Law, Penn State plans to name the law school's unified library, which includes substantial collections in both Carlisle and University Park, the H. Laddie Montague Jr. Law Library.

Montague said of his gift and efforts, "A law school with a history as rich and proud as that of The Dickinson School of Law deserves an equally promising future. This is now ensured, not only by the law school's new presence in University Park but also by the law school's continued grounding in the traditions, and at the Carlisle campus, responsible for a magnificent past. I feel fortunate that I have been able to contribute to this outcome."

Spanier said, "Few institutional changes in higher education have been as transformative or as rapid as the changes under way at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law, thanks in large part to the extraordinary generosity and efforts of Lewis Katz and Laddie Montague. Today's announcement illustrates the remarkably successful union of the storied traditions of Pennsylvania's oldest law school with the dynamic intellectual resources and programs of Penn State University, one of America's great research universities. Penn State is extremely grateful to Mr. Katz and Mr. Montague for their commitment to this vision."

Dickinson School of Law Dean Philip McConnaughay said, "The merger of The Dickinson School of Law and Penn State University has increased applications to the law school by over 100 percent and tripled the diversity of our student body while simultaneously elevating academic credentials dramatically. We have been able to appoint internationally renowned faculty at the very top of their fields and create unprecedented professional opportunities for our students and graduates. Thanks to the generosity of Lewis Katz and Laddie Montague, we will be able to sustain and build on these achievements for generations to come. The entire law school community is extremely grateful."

Katz was born and raised in Camden, N.J., and earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Temple University. He served as editorial assistant to renowned journalist Drew Pearson before enrolling in The Dickinson School of Law, where he graduated first in his class. He went on to establish Katz, Ettin & Levine, a Cherry Hill law firm, before purchasing Kinney Systems, one of the largest parking firms in the country.

In 1998, Katz stepped into the world of professional sports as principal shareholder and managing partner in a group of investors who bought the New Jersey Nets basketball franchise. The partnership later merged with the New York Yankees to form YankeeNets and, in 2000, added the NHL's New Jersey Devils to the affiliation. While the YankeeNets partnership has since been dissolved, Katz retains an interest in the Nets and the Yankees.

Outside of his business ventures, Katz has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his community and his alma maters. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Temple University and the Board of Counselors of The Dickinson School of Law and he has generously supported both institutions. In 1999 Katz received the Alumni Fellow Award from the Penn State Alumni Association, and in 2004 he received the University's most prestigious honor when he was presented with its Distinguished Alumni Award. That same year, Temple University honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award.

Katz has supported a variety of charitable causes. He played a major role in developing Jewish Community Centers in Cherry Hill and Margate, N.J., both named after his parents, and a new Hebrew day school in Voorhees, N.J., named after his children. In his native Camden, Katz helped found the city's first Boys and Girls Club and he led the effort to bring a second club to the city, which is to open in April. He also established an annual scholarship program for underprivileged children in Camden.

Montague, who earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania before graduating from the law school, is a managing principal and shareholder of Berger & Montague and chair of the firm's antitrust department. Chambers USA's America's Leading Lawyers for Business has repeatedly recognized Montague as one of the nation's top antitrust attorneys.

Montague has served as lead counsel in several significant class actions, including his role as co-trial counsel for plaintiffs in the mandatory punitive damage class action in the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Litigation. He is a director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and was co-recipient of the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice 1995 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

A staunch supporter of the law school, Montague established the H. Laddie Montague Jr. chair in law, currently held by human rights scholar Tiyanjana Maluwa. Montague also serves as chairman of the Dickinson Law Association, and as a member of the law school's Board of Counselors.

Penn State is spending $60 million on the construction of the law school's new signature building in University Park. The law school's Carlisle construction budget is $50 million, $10 million more than the original capital campaign target. The Carlisle budget is composed of $10 million from Penn State, $15 million from private philanthropy and $25 million in matching funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, thanks to the efforts of Gov. Rendell and others. The architectural firm on both projects is the Polshek Partnership of New York, with lead design architect Richard Olcott.

The remainder of the Katz and Montague gifts will benefit the law school's endowment.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 22, 2015