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IU Maurer alum donates $1 million for ethics curriculum

March 6, 2017

An alumnus of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law has made a $1 million donation to the school to allow it to continue to build its ethics and professionalism curriculum.

Stephen Burns, a 1968 Maurer graduate and former CEO of Wheaton Van Lines, announced his donation last week to endow a scholarship in his name and create the Stephens F. Burns Professorship. The professorship will be held by William Henderson, professor of law and Val Nolan Faculty Fellow at the law school, whom the school describes as “one of the nation’s leading pioneers in the field of legal education.”

In a statement released through the law school, Burns said he encountered several “unscrupulous” leaders during his time as Wheaton CEO, but was encouraged by IU Maurer’s commitment to training students to be both good lawyers and good people through programs like the Wintersession and Legal Profession course. The Legal Profession course, which was developed with Henderson’s help, teaches students judgment, project management, client relations and teamwork skills.

“He’s (Henderson) the reason for this gift,” Burns said in a statement. “When I was in law school, we hardly had any courses like the Legal Profession course or Wintersession. Bill Henderson has the same passion that I do: that there needs to be a greater curricular experience in terms of ethics and professional responsibilities.”

For his part, Henderson said in a statement that he is pleased to be chosen to help continue the school’s efforts toward training students to be ethical attorneys.

“It is very rewarding to be a part of a gift process where a lawyer can identify a key theme of their success and happiness and help translate it into part of forward-looking law school curriculum,” Henderson said in the statement. “In the case of Steve Burns, the theme is ethics and integrity.”

Burns has received multiple honors throughout his career, including the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows, the highest honor IU Maurer bestows upon its alumni.

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