Sumner Redstone Pledges $18M Gift to BU School of Law
Media giant and Boston native Sumner M. Redstone (Hon.’94) has given BU a landmark $18 million gift to support the construction of a new School of Law building adjacent to LAW’s present facility on Commonwealth Avenue. The new facility will be named the Sumner M. Redstone Building.
“This gift comes at a pivotal moment in the history of our School of Law, and it will have a tremendous impact in two ways,” President Robert A. Brown commented. “First, it will permanently link the School with the Redstone name, which will forever set a high standard for our work in legal education and scholarship. And second, it means that our long-deferred dream of transforming the School of Law campus can now begin with the groundbreaking for this new building.”
Scott Nichols, BU’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations, said the gift would both jump-start large-scale improvements at the Law School and result in a “first-rate building for a first-rate program.”
A history of philanthropy
Redstone is the executive chairman of both CBS Corporation and Viacom Inc. He is a far-ranging philanthropist, having contributed more than $130 million to a wide variety of worthy charities around the world.
A former School of Law faculty member, Redstone was the first BU academic to introduce a course on entertainment law, and pioneered the School’s curriculum for protecting intellectual property rights in the entertainment industry, which continues to be among the School’s strengths. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from BU in 1994.
“The Boston University School of Law is a hub of legal scholarship and academic achievement,” Redstone said at a BU ceremony celebrating his gift. “It’s my hope that this beautiful building, and I must say it has a pretty good name, will serve students for many years to come.”
Connecting to BU
Redstone’s connections with BU reach beyond his teaching stint. His daughter and business partner, Shari Redstone, is a 1978 and 1981 graduate of the Law School, and Redstone’s teaching assistant at BU, Tad Jankowski (LAW’82), became general counsel of National Amusements, the theatrical exhibition company owned by the Redstones. Redstone also inaugurated the annual Redstone Film Festival at BU, which is now in its 32nd year; many of the film world’s best-known directors, screenwriters, and producers have been Redstone winners.
Located west of the BU Law Tower on Commonwealth Avenue, the Redstone Building will provide a new entrance to the Law School, and will house most of the School’s classrooms. It will also provide space for the expansion of the School’s library and contain facilities to support clinical, transactional, and executive and professional education programs.
The BU School of Law was founded in 1872 and is nationally recognized for its premier teaching faculty and academic strengths in health law, intellectual property, and tax law. Enrolling more than 800 students from across the country, the Law School offers an expansive legal curriculum and extensive hands-on learning opportunities.