Wayne State University

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A. Alfred Taubman Gift for Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights to WSU Law School is largest in School’s History

November 29, 2006

* Please note that the below release is dated and building and programming specifications for the Damon J. Keith Center may have changed since it was written. Please contact Mary Hollens, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations at (313) 577-4141 or am2674@wayne.edu with questions.

 


 

Industrialist and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman has donated $3 million to Wayne State University Law School, the largest single gift to the School in its history. The gift, announced last week, was made in honor of Judge Damon J. Keith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Judge Keith is a Law School alumnus, having received his LL.M. in 1956. Keith Taubman

The gift will be used for the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, which is currently in the architectural planning phase. The new structure will replace the School’s existing classroom building, which was built in the 1960s. In addition to classrooms, the building will house offices, meeting areas, and an auditorium, all with the latest technology, including a wireless environment.

The Center for Civil Rights, which will be housed in the Keith Building, will showcase parts of the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African American Legal History, established in 1999, as well as the nationally acclaimed Marching Toward Justice exhibit, which traces the history of the 14th Amendment, and the Saluting a Giant exhibit, which honors the career of Judge Damon J. Keith. The Center will also host events on the topics of public policy, urban renewal, and racial justice.

“We are pleased and proud that the planned new Center at our Law School will be named after distinguished Detroit citizen and federal judge Damon J. Keith and that his longtime friend and civic booster Al Taubman is partnering with us in making this important project a reality,” said WSU President Irvin D. Reid. The gift is part of Wayne State University’s capital campaign, Wayne First! The campaign was publicly launched in May, 2005.

Damon J. Keith and Alfred Taubman have been friends for over two decades, and have collaborated on several previous projects, including the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. The gift to the Law School combines Taubman’s vision for the revitalization of the city of Detroit with Keith’s passion for civil rights, according to Law School Dean Frank H. Wu. “This gift will help the Law School move from a local and regionally recognized name, to the national level, both academically and in our programming as we contribute to a diverse democracy,” continued Wu.

Wayne State University Law School was founded in 1927 as Detroit City Law School, and is the only public urban law school in the Detroit metropolitan area.