Announcing the Robina Foundation's $25 million gift to the Law School and our Center for New Americans

Monday, February 6, 2017

Today we’re excited to announce — and extremely thankful to the Robina Foundation for — the largest gift in the history of the University’s Law School, a gift of $25 million. Yes, I agree … that deserves a round of applause! 

Dean Jenkins, Chief Justice Blatz and Professor Casper Sanchez  will provide details of the gift. I want to recognize members of our Board of Regents who are here: Michael Hsu, Peggy Lucas and Abdul Omari.

(News coverage of the announcement and video from the Star Tribune.  Story in Pioneer Press.)

Today is a marvelous opportunity to talk about the power of philanthropy and the way it helps our University to drive the success of our students and to fuel our commitment to facing and tackling some of the state’s and nation’s grand challenges. Simply put, philanthropy supports our core values. This particular gift will fundamentally transform the meaningful work and deep impact of our Center for New Americans.

We only need to look at the headlines to understand the importance of this gift. There are very few issues as pressing today in Minnesota and around the nation than the legal and public policies about — and the fate of — our immigrant and refugee communities. With the Center for New Americans, our Law School already can claim the nation’s premier legal clinic on immigration issues. We are already helping to train the next generation of attorneys for courageous clients who truly are facing extreme burdens.

We at the University of Minnesota are proud to be leaders in seeking solutions and protections for immigrants and refugees . . . for people who are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. But we can’t do this work alone, and we don’t. We need partners and the Center for New Americans has many wonderful partners, many of whom have joined us today, and I thank you all.

Thank you, of course, to the students, faculty and staff of the Center for your remarkable work in the clinic, in the courts, and in the classroom. And then to our very generous partner, the Robina Foundation: thank you for your sense of justice and your remarkable generosity. We’re so honored to be able to translate your historic gift into action . . . educating and training a committed group of young lawyers to ensure the safety of — and justice for — Minnesota’s New Americans, and others like them around the country and the world.

This is a great day for the University, for our Law School, and for justice for all Americans.