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Wayne Law receives gift from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan in support of Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights

April 21, 2010

DETROIT (April 21, 2010) – Wayne State University Law School received a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan in support of new programming at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

The Keith Center honors the life and legacy of Judge Damon J. Keith by carrying out his vision for civil rights. The Keith Center will advance learning, attract talented faculty, students and lecturers, enhance programming, and promote civil rights in one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in the United States. The Keith Center will have active programs of legal studies and will promote community engagement.

“Judge Damon Keith has long been a leader in our community and as a member of the judiciary, has been a courageous defender of civil rights,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “The Keith Center will inspire and empower future generations to take up and carry on the mantle of Judge Keith’s legacy.”

Law School Dean Robert M. Ackerman noted, “In 2009, the Law School moved forward on a number of Keith Center programming initiatives thanks to more than $2.5 million in endowments. This gift from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan will allow us to offer our students and community a greater array of programs devoted to civil rights education and awareness.” 

The Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Keith Center is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on May 17, 2010. The 10,000-square-foot building will feature an exhibit area, meeting space, conference space and a 60-person lecture hall. An exhibit area featuring Judge Keith’s life and work and focusing on civil rights will also serve as a reception area for the Law School’s clinics.

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, will speak at the May 17 ceremony, which will be held on Wayne State University’s campus (adjacent to the Law School) and attended by a number of dignitaries, including Judge Damon J. Keith, A. Alfred Taubman, Edsel B. Ford II, members of the WSU Board of Governors, WSU President Jay Noren and Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman.

Other recent significant gifts to the Keith Center include a combined gift from the Henry Ford II Fund and the Edsel B. Ford II Fund and a gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In addition to his gift, Mr. Edsel Ford has commissioned a portrait of Judge Keith by local artist Nancy Mitter that will be displayed in the exhibit area of the Keith Center. In 2006, real estate developer and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman made a $3 million commitment (the largest in the Law School’s history) to Wayne Law in honor of Judge Keith.

For more information on how to give to Keith Center, please call (313) 577-3113 or visit http://cardinal.wayne.edu/wsugiving/give.cfm?deptid=10. To RSVP for the Groundbreaking Ceremony, please visit http://specialevents.wayne.edu/djkgroundbreaking.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan was founded in 1984 as a permanent community endowment, built with gifts from hundreds of individuals and organizations committed to a strong future for southeast Michigan. Since its founding 25 years ago, the Community Foundation has distributed more than $333 million in more than 32,000 grants to charitable projects in southeast Michigan's seven-county area. Dedicated to strengthening the quality of life throughout southeast Michigan, the Community Foundation works to encourage charitable giving in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Monroe counties.


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Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

For more information on Wayne State University Law School, visit law.wayne.edu.

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