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Building the Future Campaign raises over $37M for ASU Law

artist's rendering of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Building
January 08, 2015

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has raised more than $37 million, as it enters into the second half of its ambitious five-year fundraising campaign – the first comprehensive campaign in the college's history.

“When we launched the Building the Future Campaign, many in the community told us we wouldn’t succeed – not in this economy and not in this city. Well, our alumni and the Phoenix community have, once again, proven the naysayers wrong,” said Douglas Sylvester, dean of the college.

In the past nine months alone, the College of Law has received the largest gifts in its history through the Building the Future Campaign. In September, prominent Phoenix attorney Leo Beus and his wife, Annette, made a $10 million gift – the largest in the history of the law school.

“Giving to ASU has been one of the best decisions of our lives,” said Leo and Annette Beus. “Knowing that our funds will help the next generation of lawyers at a great law school is certainly part of it. But it is also deeply gratifying to know how much our funds are appreciated by ASU. ASU views gifts as investments, and the returns on those investments are immediate and personal. Our advice is that people should give now. ... It is wonderful to experience the benefits of your gifts, and ASU makes sure that you do!”

In November, the W. P. Carey Foundation made a $3 million gift to recognize John Samuel Armstrong’s legacy at the College of Law, allowing for the largest hall in the new building to be named the Armstrong Great Hall. Currently, the College of Law is housed in Armstrong Hall on the ASU Tempe campus.

“The Armstrong Great Hall is just one example of how we plan to recognize those people who helped to found and to build the College of Law,” Sylvester said. “For example, we are very pleased to announce two other namings in honor of two of our founding faculty. The Rebecca and Michael Berch Student Success Center and the Alan Matheson Dean’s Office are the first of what we hope will be many recognitions of those who built this law school.”

In addition to those gifts, $10 million in testamentary gifts have been made through the course of the campaign, including one for $5 million.

Overall, the college has secured seven gifts of $1 million or more – having received only one gift of more than $1 million in its prior 45-year existence.

“The generous support we have received from our law alumni, the Phoenix legal community and the community as a whole has been overwhelming,” Sylvester said.

Although part of the campaign funds are for the construction of the $129 million Arizona Center for Law and Society, the new home of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Downtown Phoenix, the lion’s share of donations are to support student scholarships, professorships and programming at the college.

Construction on the new building began in July, and will be ready to house the entering Class of 2016. The building is planned to be approximately 280,000 gross square feet, with two levels of underground parking. In addition to state-of-the-art classrooms and simulation facilities, the new center will house the ASU Alumni Law Group – the world’s first teaching law firm – the Arizona location for the McCain Institution, the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics and numerous other publicly oriented policy and outreach centers.

“This building has been constructed, floor by floor, with our two main audiences in mind: the public we serve and the students we educate. It will be, simply put, a facility that engages the public and educates lawyers better than any other in the country,” said Thomas Williams, assistant dean of Academic Affairs.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library, currently located in a separate building near the law school in Tempe, will be moved to the new building. The library will occupy multiple floors and create the main circulatory structure of the center. The first floor of the building will have retail space consisting of a school bookstore and a café.

“This is an exciting time for the College of Law. While other law schools are struggling, we are thriving. We have increased our national impact and profile. We have enrolled the strongest entering classes in our history. We have placed our students in great jobs at rates far beyond national averages – and had the support of the community at levels beyond any similar law school,” Sylvester said.

The lead architects on the project are Ennead Architects of New York City and Jones Studios of Phoenix. DPR Construction is the construction manager and Buro-Happold is the engineer.

For more information on giving to the Building the Future Campaign, please contact Jim Van Wicklin, senior director of development at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, at or 480-727-0645, or visit