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UCLA to Establish Unique Law Chair


— February 25, 2007

Million-dollar donors

Thanks to a more than $1-million donation from a gay male couple who hope one day to marry in California, UCLA’s law school is planning to establish what is described as the nation’s first endowed academic chair in sexual orientation law.

The cash gift from John McDonald and Rob Wright will help fund the research of a still-to-be-named professor at UCLA Law School’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy. That 5-year-old think tank investigates such topics as anti-homosexual discrimination, the impact of the military’s don’t ask-don’t tell policies and the demographics of same-sex couples who have adopted children.

“This is going to support legal scholarship, legal research and education that covers a whole area so fundamental to creating change,” said McDonald, a retired businessman and attorney who earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA. “We just think this is one of the best things we’ve ever done.”

The UC system recently approved an agreement to accept the money, but formal establishment of the chair awaits a review to ensure that it matches UC’s research and teaching missions and is not too narrowly drawn, system officials said. Although the research topics may upset social conservatives, approval is expected.

The donation for the chair was announced publicly in connection with a Williams Institute conference Friday at the Westwood campus.

Details here from the Los Angeles Times.


Million-dollar donors

Thanks to a more than $1-million donation from a gay male couple who hope one day to marry in California, UCLA’s law school is planning to establish what is described as the nation’s first endowed academic chair in sexual orientation law.

The cash gift from John McDonald and Rob Wright will help fund the research of a still-to-be-named professor at UCLA Law School’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy. That 5-year-old think tank investigates such topics as anti-homosexual discrimination, the impact of the military’s don’t ask-don’t tell policies and the demographics of same-sex couples who have adopted children.

“This is going to support legal scholarship, legal research and education that covers a whole area so fundamental to creating change,” said McDonald, a retired businessman and attorney who earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA. “We just think this is one of the best things we’ve ever done.”

The UC system recently approved an agreement to accept the money, but formal establishment of the chair awaits a review to ensure that it matches UC’s research and teaching missions and is not too narrowly drawn, system officials said. Although the research topics may upset social conservatives, approval is expected.

The donation for the chair was announced publicly in connection with a Williams Institute conference Friday at the Westwood campus.

Details here from the Los Angeles Times.

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