Former Michigan student Charles Munger donates $20 million for Lawyers Club renovation project
Charles Munger, a former University of Michigan student, will donate $20 million to the university for renovations to the Lawyers Club housing complex, pending approval from the university Board of Regents.
Courtesy of University of Michigan Law School
Munger, who was an undergraduate mathematics student at Michigan in the 1940s and is the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, will cover much of the cost for the $39 million project. The remainder of the funds will come from central university investment proceeds and the Lawyers Club, which is run by a separately incorporated, nonprofit organization, according to a university statement.
“Charlie Munger has a powerful vision of world-class facilities that will match a world-class law school at the University of Michigan,” university president Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement. “The Law Quad is an icon of U-M’s excellence in legal education and its prominence is now ensured for future generations because of Charlie’s generosity.”
The project will be voted on at the university’s Board of Regents meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit. The meeting will be the first time the Board of Regents have met in Detroit since Aug. 22, 1951, according to university spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald.
Munger also graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1948, after leaving Michigan without a degree to join the U.S. Army Air Corps as a meteorologist. He became vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway in 1978.
The renovated residence portion of the Lawyers Club will be named The Charles T. Munger Residences in the Lawyers Club in honor of the gift, pending approval from the Board of Regents.
Munger was honored at the Michigan commencement ceremony in December with an honorary degree of doctor of laws.
This is not the first time Munger has donated a significant amount of money to the university.
In 2007, Munger donated $3 million for lighting improvements in the public areas of the Law Quadrangle.
Law School Dean Evan Caminker said the construction projects will represent the most dramatic improvement in the law school's student environment since 1925.
“Our new academic building and Commons areas will enable us to provide contemporary educational and community space, while the residence renovations will increase comfort and convenience for law students who wish to live in the Quad,” Caminker said.
The Law School has proposed a comprehensive renovation of The Lawyers Club building’s dormitory wing and the entire John P. Cook Building, totaling 92,000 square feet, according to Timothy Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer at U-M.
In a recommendation to regents, Slottow said the project will address infrastructure needs, including new plumbing, heating, ventilation, fire detection and suppression systems. The area to be renovated is located along South University Avenue, between State Street and Tappan Avenue.
Other additions planned for the project are wired and wireless high-speed network access, accessibility improvements and air conditioning, according to Slottow’s recommendation.
Slottow said construction is hoped to have overall energy performance exceed national energy efficiency standards by more than 30 percent.
The meeting will feature a few presentations revolving around U-M’s presence in Detroit. The regents typically meet nine times per year in Ann Arbor and once each in Dearborn and Flint.
Other items on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting are approval of a new university progam to sell up to $200 million of commercial paper and a $6 million expansion of the medical procedure unit at the University of Michigan hospital.