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Law School alumnus gives $1.25 million for new entrepreneurship faculty chair

Duke Law Professor Deborah DeMott give a talk to members of the Duke Law School Alumni Boards at the Nasher Museum of Art on Friday, October 10th.
Duke Law Professor Deborah DeMott give a talk to members of the Duke Law School Alumni Boards at the Nasher Museum of Art on Friday, October 10th.

Karl Leo, Law '83, and his wife Fay have donated $1.25 million to secure a new professorship in law and entrepreneurship at the Duke School of Law.

The Karl W. Leo Professorship is the most recent of eight faculty positions established at the School of Law through Duke Forward, the University's seven-year, $3.25 billion capital campaign. Its addition to the Law School's faculty exceeds the school’s original campaign goal of funding seven new professorships. The professorship is also the fifth to be created with matching funds from a gift in 2011 from Stanley Star, Law '61, and his wife, Elizabeth.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to Karl and Fay Leo for their generosity and commitment to Duke Law,” Law Dean David Levi, said in a Duke News release. “Their gift will deepen what is already one of our strongest fields of teaching and scholarship, and one that is of vital importance to our students and the profession.”

As of mid-November, the law school had raised 82 percent of its $85 million campaign goal. The $69.3 million that has already been raised will help add faculty positions and research funds, increase financial aid packages for students and advance academic programs.

Leo—vice president and chief legal adviser for roofing supply company ABC Supply Co.—served as the editor of the Duke Law Journal as a student. He currently sits on the School of Law's Board of Visitors.

“I think the greater the faculty is endowed, the greater the course offerings, the greater the practical offerings, the better prepared students will be for a career in business law,” Leo said in the release.

The gift contributes to the Law School’s recent efforts toward advancing its law and entrepreneurship area of study, which include developing Law and Entrepreneurship programs and securing scholarship funding for students pursuing those degrees. Seventeen students are currently pursuing the two-semester Law and Entrepreneurship LLM Program, which began four years ago.

Leo’s donation will add to one of the fastest growing areas of study at the Duke Law School, President Richard Brodhead said.

“The integration of law with business and business-creation is an exciting approach that leads to real-world applications for our students,” Brodhead said in the release. “We’re grateful to Karl and Fay Leo for their generosity and vision in investing in this important new area of expertise.” ?

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