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Detroit Free Press: Gilbert, Ross each donate $5 million to Wayne State Law

September 11, 2016

Both Dan Gilbert and Stephen Ross will donate $5 million to Wayne State University’s Law School in honor of outgoing dean Jocelyn Benson, the school will announce today. The pair – each alumni of the school – will give the gifts to establish the Benson Legacy Fund for Wayne Law and the Benson Endowed Enhancement Fund for Wayne Law. The money will be spent at the discretion of the school’s dean to further the school. Benson is leaving the school at the end of the month to work for a new organization headed by Ross. Each gift is the largest single gift ever received by the law school.

“I am thrilled to have two of Wayne Law’s most successful and influential alumni unite to make this historic investment in the future of our law school,” Benson said in a written statement. “It is an honor to count them both as members of the Wayne Law family; their accomplishments and leadership are an inspiration for our entire community.”

The announcement comes as Gilbert and Ross are inducted, along with 11 others, as part of the inaugural class of the Miller Family Wayne Law Alumni Wall of Fame. The wall of fame – the highest award presented by Wayne Law – is awarded to alumni who have distinguished themselves by contributions they have made in their fields, or in the betterment of humanity, or to former faculty and staff who have had a significant impact on the law school. The gifts from Ross and Gilbert are part of Wayne State’s $750-million Pivotal Moments fund-raising campaign. Including their gifts, the campaign has raised more than $590 million. With their gifts, the law school has raised nearly $24 million of its $30-million goal for the campaign.

"Both Mr. Ross and Mr. Gilbert have worked to revitalize development in urban cities and build a sense of community through numerous projects,” Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said in a statement. “Their generous gifts will help Wayne Law continue to play a significant part in the renaissance of Detroit.”