BREAKING: Maurer donates $35M to IU law

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Indianapolis attorney and businessman Michael Maurer is giving $35 million to the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, which has been renamed in his honor.

The gift, the largest in the law school's history to come from a single donor, will fund an undetermined number of scholarships. Because the donation comes during IU's $1 billion Matching the Promise fundraising campaign, the university will match investment income from the gift in perpetuity.

"I have always thought I had a duty to give back," said Maurer, who graduated from the law school in 1967. He said he received a small academic scholarship in his second year and went on to a 20-year career practicing "any kind of law that had to do with numbers." Maurer, 65, founded the Carmel law firm Maurer Rifkin & Hill PC but no longer practices.

Starting in the 1970s, Maurer and his business partner Robert Schloss built cable television systems in Indiana and Michigan. The partners later bought three local radio stations, which they sold in 2004 to Entercom Communications Corp. for $73.5 million.

Maurer and Schloss are partners in IBJ Corp., owner and publisher of Indianapolis Business Journal, Court and Commercial Record, and Indiana Lawyer. Maurer is chairman of The National Bank of Indianapolis, which he co-founded in 1993.

Law school served him well in business ventures, Maurer said. "Examining issues, evaluating positions - these are good things to learn if you're going into business."

Maurer has a long history of supporting the law school. He chaired its first capital campaign in the 1990s. About 10 years ago, he donated $1 million to support a professorship.

Maurer said he wanted to make a more meaningful gift during the capital campaign, which ends June 30, 2010, and IU offered him the chance to name the law school. Noting that he entered IU law with one of the lowest undergraduate grade-point averages in the class, Maurer said, "The irony of it kind of tickled me."

The new name, the Michael Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, is effective today.

Maurer is one of several central Indiana business leaders who have given huge sums to IU in recent years. In 1997, longtime Steak n Shake Chairman E.W. Kelley gave $23 million to the business school, which was renamed in his honor.

In November 2006, shopping mall developer Melvin Simon and his wife, Bren, gave $50 million to the IU Foundation for the Simon Cancer Center at IUPUI.

Maurer will make his donation over time, with an undisclosed portion coming from his estate after his death.

"This exceptional gift builds upon the law school's foundation of excellence," University President Michael McRobbie said in a statement. "It will enable Indiana law to continue to attract top students and to propel them into the legal profession with outstanding preparation for a broad array of professional options."

U.S. News and World Report's latest ranking of law schools places IU 36th in the nation.

Maurer's gift brings the law school's fundraising during the capital campaign to $83 million. Last December, Lilly Endowment donated $25 million for faculty recruitment. IU will match income from that gift, as well.

University spokesman Larry MacIntrye said criteria for the Michael and Janie Maurer Scholarship, named for Maurer and his wife, are still undecided.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.