IU law school in Indianapolis gets $24M from McKinney

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Retired banker and attorney Robert H. McKinney is donating $24 million to the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.

University officials announced the gift Thursday afternoon and said the law school would be renamed the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in his honor.

The gift is the largest ever received by the law school. Combined with matching funds from an IUPUI fundraising campaign, the total value rises to $31.5 million.

The money will fund five endowed chairs to help attract and retain nationally recognized scholars to the faculty, the law school said. The gift also will create a $17.5 million endowment to fund scholarships for excelling students.

“With this extremely generous gift, Bob McKinney will have a transformative impact on a law school that already has provided the academic foundation for a remarkable number of lawyers, judges and community and government leaders across Indiana and beyond,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a prepared statement.

The law school, housed in Lawrence W. Inlow Hall on the IUPUI campus west of downtown Indianapolis, is the largest law school in the state, with more than 1,000 students. The school's 10,000 or so graduates reside in every state and several foreign countries.

McKinney’s gift follows the renaming of IU’s law school in Bloomington in December 2008, in honor of Indianapolis attorney and businessman Michael Maurer, who gave it $35 million. Maurer is co-owner of IBJ Media.

IU School of Law-Indianapolis Dean Gary R. Roberts said McKinney’s gift will help the school achieve its long-term goals.

“It is impossible to overstate the impact of this gift upon the law school, the campus and the state,” Roberts said in a prepared statement. “It provides for faculty chairs and student support to create an unparalleled resource with which to realize the aspirations of our school—to become one of the finest public law schools in the nation.”

Until his retirement in 2005, McKinney served as chairman and CEO of First Indiana Corp., parent of First Indiana Bank. First Indiana was acquired in 2008 by Wisconsin-based M&I Corp. for $529 million. Based on the 20 percent of First Indiana shares McKinney owned, he would have grossed more than $111 million in the deal.

He also co-founded local law firm Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, from which he retired in 1992.

Trained as an engineer, McKinney received his law degree from IU and also holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy.

At IU, McKinney was a trustee from 1989 to 1998 and served a one-year term as board president. He also was chairman of the Board of Advisors of IUPUI and currently is a director of the IU Foundation. Since retiring from banking, he's remained active in environmental causes.

“A law degree is a great introduction to broad areas of leadership—political leadership, business leadership and civic leadership,” McKinney said in a prepared statement. “The IU law school in Indianapolis plays a vital role in developing the leaders Indiana needs to succeed.”

McKinney’s gift, which will be administered and invested by the IU Foundation, was made through the IUPUI Impact campaign. It’s a $1.25 billion fundraising effort publicly announced in October 2010. The campaign surpassed the $1 billion mark in September.



  • Really?
    That's all you have for a school that systemically refuses to turn over employment data over the us news and world and law school transparency? Pointing to some garbage "superlawyer" stat and the school of medicine.

    There is zero reason for the dump to exist, Indiana already has too many attorneys. I doubt more than half the class even gets full time legal employment. Good luck servicing 150k debt worth of debt.
  • IU McKinney vs IU Maurer
    @Bob Jones: What is the motivation for your post?

    The School added "Robert H. McKinney" to its name to honor a benefactor whose generous gift is greatly appreciated. You have a problem with this? Or is your problem with the removal of the "-Indianapolis" from the name?

    In either case, let me remind you the school formerly known as the "Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington" was renamed in 2008 as the "Indiana University Maurer School of Law" so as to add a benefactor's name and drop a regional marker. What's permitted for Bloomington isn't permitted for Indianapolis?

    Also, your assertion that the Indianapolis school is known to be a "toilet school" is unfounded. Two of the current five Indiana Supreme Court Justices are graduates of the Indianapolis school. The Bloomington school can only claim one of the current five Indiana Supreme Court Justices. More than half of all practicing attorneys in the Indiana are graduates of the Indianapolis school. And did you know that in 2010, based on the number of graduates selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers magazine, that publication ranked the Indianapolis school 44th out of 180 law schools considered? In comparison, the Bloomington school was ranked 59th, well below the Indianapolis school. Now I'm not going to say that the Indianapolis school is better than the Bloomington school, but do you really maintain that the Indianapolis school is a "toilet school" in view of the above?

    And by the way, there is no IUPUI school of anything. IUPUI is a campus on which IU and Purdue schools reside. For example, IUPUI houses the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, the Purdue School of Science, the IU School of Medicine, the IU School of Dentistry, and now the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Get used to it.
      I think they probably changed their name in order to confuse people- IUPUI is a toilet school and everyone knows it. The Indianapolis label to the law school clearly points out to employers that you went to a third-tier state school because you couldn't get into Bloomington or Notre Dame (or Illinois or Ohio St).

      When you put "Robert McKinney" in front of the school, people think it is likely the flagship state school in bloomington. By not pointing out the school's location, people just assume it it THE Indiana University rather than A Indiana University.
      • Ashamed?
        To Fred - hopefully you represent a tiny shallow-minded minority. This gift gives the Indy law school a real chance to be a top flight destination for professors and students. You'll benefit, too in the form of greater name recognition and prestige.
      • Simon
        That makes sense. Thank you for the reply. If the evening division acceptance standards are lower than the daytime, I think that should be fixed. If anything, the school and administration should strive to treat both divisions equally. My experience has been that many students in both divisions take advantage of classes offered in the other division, so having both seems like an asset rather than a liability.
      • Accomplishment
        Fred, Mr. McKinney has accomplished a great deal in his life. As a current student, I appreciate his generosity.
      • Disgusting
        It used to be schools were named after cities or people who accomplished a lot in life. Now schools get named after whoever gives the school the most money. It's disgusting. I am a graduate of IU Law School-Indy. I am ashamed that my alma matter will no longer be named that.
        • Dexter
          Dexter: Your spot on about some of the pt students. The Pt education is of the same quality as the full time. Many are professionals by day. I'm not questioning the quality of the students and grads. Nor the benefit to the community. The rankings are based on a number of factors, but gpa/lsat is a large part of the equation. Lsat most importantly. The pt numbers are lower. US news prior to a few years ago did not count pt numbers, but they do now. The numbers are probably on the school site or can be found on a number of different rankings pages.
        • Info
          Simon, what's the basis for your assertions? I'm not trying to argue, just wondering if this is something that's available in some kind of empirical form. My personal opinion is that the evening students offer diversity that cannot be found at other schools that attract only those directly from undergraduate programs. The evening division has plenty of doctors, chemists, engineers, CPAs, MBAs, etc. so it may be possible that the evening division is producing JDs who may not become practicing attorneys. Just my thoughts.
        • Great
          I think the below posters are neglecting to see that the school remained name "Indiana University" then the name. As an alum, I always thought is was odd to just stick Indianapolis on the end. I would have preferred IUPUI to the old name. The new name seems good. However, we'll never be ranked in the top 30 with the current ranking system because it takes into account PT stats. Lots of good attorneys come from the PT program, but the numbers are lower than the full time. It will interesting to see if cutting the part-time is something the school is thinking about.
          • Paying for a name is fine
            I see not problem with this. This is no different than the Hoosier Dome being called the RCA Dome (for a paltry $4M if I remember correctly) and now rebuilt and named Lucas Oil. I think the only stipulation should be if you want your name on it, you have to give more than the prior amount (inflation adjusted). Tradition and names are fine, but in the new economic reality of chaos and constant change, these institutions need money or will stagnate.
          • Gift v. Renaming
            The gift is incredible and should be honored. But, there is no reason to change the name of the school. The school used to be the Benjamin Harrison School of Law. Benjamin Harrison is recognized as one of the foremost lawyers in American jurisprudence. We gave up the name to recognize our State and City as the keeper of our domain. Without a doubt, McKinney has done an awful lot for the community and for the school, but should we change the name of our schools everytime someone gives a big gift? No. The old adage is and shall remain - the institution is bigger than the man. If Bloomington and Indy's law schools would hold onto that creed then they would remember one of the things that we learn first in any school and that we hold dear - We are a nation of law(school)s and not men. If this policy continues, I hope someone annonymous will donate 50 million so we can rename the law school - A. Law School.
          • Renaming of the Law School
            Oh no. I'm disappointed.

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