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April 01, 2016

Gift Deal to Rename George Mason U. Law School for Scalia

George Mason University's Board of Visitors voted Thursday to rechristen the Northern Virginia institution's law school for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as part of a $30 million donation agreement, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal report. The name change was stipulated by an anonymous donor who pledged $20 million, with the other $10 million coming from the Charles Koch Foundation.

The gifts will fund three new scholarships at the public university's law school, which has built a reputation as a center for conservative legal thought. The name change to the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University will take effect this summer pending approval by Virginia's State Council of Higher Education, which is expected to give its blessing.

George Mason receives the lion's share of academic giving by the Charles Koch philanthropy, boosting the university's standing as a locus of conservative scholarship in economics and the law, writes the Associated Press.

The Koch fund gave $48 million to Mason from 2011 to 2014, far more than to any other U.S. university, with much of the money supporting campus-based research and policy centers promoting free-market and libertarian principles. The billionaire industrialist's financial support has created tensions at Mason and other colleges that receive Koch money.