Lawyer Gives $20 Million So Low-Income Law Students Can Avoid Enormous Debt
Aviation lawyer John Hoyns hopes his gift will help students from low-income families avoid the stress of worrying about money.
Lawyer John Hoyns has pledged $20 million to University of Michigan Law School to establish the John K. Hoyns Scholarship Fund and Hoyns Scholars program, which Will support law students who cannot afford to pay full law school tuition and expenses without taking on a significant amount of debt. The program will help students from low-income households, as well as those whose families are able to make some financial contribution.
Plus, Stetson University received a $15.4 million bequest from a longtime supporter to back scholarships and to endow its music school, and four other nonprofits received multimillion dollar donations.
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A roundup of notable gifts compiled by the Chronicle:
University of Michigan Law School
John Hoyns pledged $20 million to establish the John K. Hoyns Scholarship Fund and Hoyns Scholars program, which will support law students who cannot afford to pay full law-school tuition and expenses without taking on significant debt.
The program will help students from low-income households, as well as those whose families can make some financial contribution. It will cover tuition, living costs, and other associated expenses while they are enrolled in the law school. Hoyns’s experiences as a scholarship student at the law school motivated him to make the commitment.
“When I arrived at the Law Quad as a first-year student, it was surprising to see how much more demanding law school is than college,” Hoyes said in a news release. “All students at the law school should be focused on learning the law without the distraction of finding money for expenses.”
After earning a law degree in 1979, Hoyns joined the New York office of the Hughes Hubbard & Reed law firm as a corporate generalist. He later focused his practice on the aviation industry, representing clients such as Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Republic Airways, United Airlines, and others. Hoyns served for many years as chairman of the firm’s corporate department and of its aviation group. He retired in 2022 after more than four decades at the firm.
Mary McMahan left $15.4 million and directed half of the total toward endowing the School of Music, and the other half toward supporting the Richard and Mary McMahan Scholarship, which the donor and her husband established in 1997 to benefit students from Volusia County, Fla.
Although McMahan and her husband were not Stetson alumni, they were longtime supporters of the university. Mary McMahan served on the School of Music Board of Advisors and on the Board of Advisors for the College of Arts and Sciences, and Richard (Dick) McMahan served on the university’s Board of Trustees.
Richard McMahan founded McMahan Construction Company; West Volusia Utilities, a water and sewer services provider; and RAM Group, a land developer. He served in the Florida House of Representatives in the early 1990s. He died in 2011, and Mary McMahan died in June.
American University Kogod School of Business
Arlene and Robert Kogod gave $15 million to endow three departmental chairs, two at the Kogod School of Business and a third as a joint appointment at the business school and the School of Public Affairs.
Robert Kogod is president of CESM, a real-estate firm in Arlington, Va., and previously led the Charles E. Smith Companies, a real-estate company founded by Arlene Kogod’s father. Beginning in 2001, the company went through a series of mergers, including a 2016 merger with JBG Companies.
Ellen and Michael Ziegler left more than $11.5 million to support building and infrastructure projects, including the construction of the new Ziegler Theater, which is scheduled to open in 2025. Michael Ziegler was an attorney in Phoenix. He died earlier this year. Ellen Ziegler worked as a communications executive early in her career. She died in 2021.
Scottsdale Arts is a performing-arts presenter and comprises the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale Public Art, Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, Canal Convergence, and Civic Center LIVE.
Judy Lewent and Mark Shapiro pledged $10 million to back the construction of the Science Innovation Center, which will be named for Lewent. She served as chief financial officer of the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Company from 1990 until her retirement from the company in 2007. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Goucher in 1970. Mark Shapiro is a retired investment banker.
Loyola Marymount University Loyola Law School
Gary and Nava Dordick pledged $8 million to launch the LMU Loyola Law School Dordick Family Trial Advocacy Fund. The fund will support the law school’s advocacy programs, which provide tactical and strategic skills training to aspiring litigators.
Gary Dordick founded Dordick Law Corporation, a Los Angeles law firm that specializes in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Nava Dordick serves as the firm’s chief financial officer and earned a law degree from LMU Loyola Law School in May. Three of the couple’s five children are Loyola Law School alumni and work for the family firm.
To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated regularly.