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(Boston) – Boston University today announced that well-known media executive and Boston native, Sumner M. Redstone, has given $18 million to help expand and improve the facilities of the Boston University School of Law, including the construction of a new building adjacent to the School’s core facility; the new building will be named the Sumner M. Redstone Building. Mr. Redstone serves as Executive Chairman of the Board of both CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS and CBS.A) and Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB and VIA). Mr. Redstone is the controlling shareholder of both companies through National Amusements Inc., a leading theatrical exhibition company based in Dedham, MA.
Located to the west of the “Law Tower,” the new Sumner M. Redstone Building will provide a new entrance to the Law School, as well as house the majority of the school’s classrooms. The Redstone Building will provide space for the expansion of the school’s library, as well as contain facilities to support clinical, transactional, and executive and professional education programs.
“This gift comes at a pivotal moment in the history of our School of Law,” said Boston University President Robert A. Brown, “and it will have a tremendous impact in two ways. 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.”
“Boston University School of Law is one of the finest institutions of legal scholarship in the world and deserves a home that will enable it to continue to innovate and build on that legacy,” said Mr. Redstone. “As a former faculty member, native Bostonian, and the proud parent of a BU Law graduate, I could not be more pleased to provide this gift that will benefit generations of future students.”
Mr. Redstone’s relationship with BU long predates his current gift. In 1982, he joined the faculty of the Boston University School of Law, where he created one of the nation’s first courses in entertainment law. Mr. Redstone also pioneered the school’s curriculum for protecting intellectual property in the entertainment industry, which continues to be one of the school’s strengths. In 1994, Mr. Redstone received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Boston University. In addition, for more than 30 years he has sponsored the Boston University Redstone Film Festival. Recognized as one of New England’s premier venues for film and television, the annual festival features projects written and directed by graduate and undergraduate students from the BU College of Communication. Redstone winners and finalists have gone on to become some of Hollywood’s most successful directors, screenwriters, and producers.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 16 colleges and schools, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.
The BU School of Law is a top-tier law school that is nationally recognized for its premier teaching faculty and academic strengths in health law, intellectual property, and tax law. With an enrollment of more than 800 students from across the country, the law school offers an expansive legal curriculum, extensive experiential learning opportunities, and a collegial student environment. Since its founding in 1872, BU Law has admitted students of ability without regard to race, gender or religion.
In addition to his well know success in the media industry, through the Sumner Redstone Charitable Foundation and personal donations, Mr. Redstone has devoted himself to a wide variety of civic and community affairs efforts, contributing over $130 million to worthy charities around the world over the last several years. He has donated $2.1 million to the Global Poverty Project towards eradicating polio and funded the establishment of the Cambodian Children’s Fund child rescue center along with research and patient care advancements in cancer, burn recovery and mental health at several major non-profit healthcare organizations. Many of his major gifts have been focused on encouraging the acceleration of basic research into clinical trials and, ultimately, to individuals and their families.
Mr. Redstone has supported such internationally recognized programs as A Place Called Home, The Child Rescue Association of North America, Autism Speaks, FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions, based in Washington D.C.; the prostate cancer research of Dr. David Agus at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine; the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts; Boston Latin School and Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He has also been an active supporter of Los Angeles based organizations such as Friendly House and the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars Sinai.
Mr. Redstone has played a significant role in the affairs of the entertainment and communications industries. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation and is on the Board of Trustees for The Paley Center for Media. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Theatre Owners, and currently is a member of the Executive Committee of that organization. Before that, he was President of the Theatre Owners of America.
Mr. Redstone enjoys and takes pride in teaching college students, and in addition to Boston University, he has lectured at a variety of universities, including Harvard Law School and Brandeis University. While serving as a Law Clerk in the Court of Appeals, Mr. Redstone taught at the University of San Francisco. In 2006, Mr. Redstone also received an honorary degree from George Washington University.
He is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and currently serves as Honorary Chairman of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. He is a member of the Corporation of the Massachusetts General Hospital and is on the Board of Overseers of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. Mr. Redstone has served as the Chairman of the Jimmy Fund (Children’s Cancer Research Foundation), and was a member of the Corporation of the New England Medical Center. He is a former Chairman of the Metropolitan Division of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
During the Carter Administration, he was appointed a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee of the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and in 1984, was appointed a Director of the Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation. He also has served as a judge on the Foundation’s select committee to award the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, each year since the Award’s inception in 1990.
Mr. Redstone began his career as Law Secretary with the U.S. Court of Appeals, and then served as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General. Subsequently, he was a partner with the law firm of Ford, Bergson, Adams, Borkland and Redstone in Washington, D.C. In 1954, he joined National Amusements, Inc., one of the largest motion picture circuits in the United States.
Mr. Redstone served in the Military Intelligence Division during World War II. While a student at Harvard, he was selected by Japanese history professor Edwin Reischauer (later Ambassador to Japan) to join a special intelligence group whose mission was to break Japan’s high-level military and diplomatic codes. In connection with these activities, Mr. Redstone received, among other honors, two commendations from the Military Intelligence Division in recognition of his service, contribution and devotion to duty. He is also a recipient of the Army Commendation Award.
Mr. Redstone’s education began at Boston Latin School, where he graduated first in his class. In 1944, after studying for two and one-half years at Harvard College, he was awarded a degree by Harvard University’s Special Board of Overseers. In 1947, Mr. Redstone received his LL.B. from the Harvard University School of Law.
Mr. Redstone’s autobiography, A Passion to Win, was published in 2001.