Regent gives $1 million to Texas A&M School of Law

04/23/2014 4:28 PM

04/23/2014 10:49 PM

Tony Buzbee wants to see the Texas A&M University School of Law become a top Texas law school in the next five years — so he wrote a $1 million check to the school this week and is urging other Aggies to do the same.

Because the Texas A&M University School of Law in downtown Fort Worth is not yet a year old, the founding partner of The Buzbee Law Firm and Texas A&M System regent said he stepped up and created an endowment for the incoming dean and hopes others will follow his lead.

“What I’m hoping to do is encourage other Aggies to give money to the law school because we are going to need a healthy endowment for all the things we want to do,” Buzbee said.

The $1 million will establish the first endowed faculty chair at the law school. It will be called the Anthony G. Buzbee Dean’s Endowed Chair and the incoming dean will use the funds to invest for things such as hiring new faculty and expanding academic programs.

Buzbee said the law school is at a disadvantage because it hasn’t been around long enough to establish a good donor base in terms of alumni, said Buzbee, who earned his law degree at the University of Houston Law Center after graduating with a psychology degree from Texas A&M.

“… But there are a lot of Aggies in Texas, we are getting a new dean, and this will be a good start for our new dean and set an example for a lot of other Aggie lawyers out there to give some money,” he said.

Texas A&M University purchased the the Texas Wesleyan School of Law on August 12. The A&M System bought the school for $73 million.

The school is expected to announce who the new dean will be later in the week, school officials said.

Interim dean Aric Short said system officials will meet in the summer to create a strategic plan that will boost the academic rigor in an attempt to become nationally recognized.

Short said the Texas A&M president and system regents have had many conversations with the Fort Worth campus on how to build the law school’s endowment base.

“Regent Buzbee has heard those conversations,” Short said.

Short said the incoming dean could use the money to invest in areas like intellectual property and natural resources, or even help increase student scholarships.

“We just acquired the law school. We just branded it,” Buzbee said. “… We wanted the law school for a long time, and after we acquired it our applications went up 40 percent.”

He said the next step is for the school to become nationally ranked, and a top Texas law school in the next five years.

“I think you are going to see some unique things,” Buzbee said. “We will probably see a several-fold increase in applications the next time around.”

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