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Ford Motor Company Presents $250,000 Check to Support the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights

August 20, 2008


DETROIT (Aug. 20, 2008) - Wayne State University Law School is pleased to announce a gift of $250,000 from Ford Motor Company to support the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. The check was presented by Jim Vella, President of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, to The Hon. Damon J. Keith, Wayne State University President Dr. Jay Noren, and Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman.

The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights will serve to promote research, academic programming and community engagement on legal and policy issues relating to civil rights and urban development. It will allow Wayne Law to attract and retain the best students, support and strengthen Wayne Law faculty, enhance programming and promote civil rights internationally from one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in the United States.

"On behalf of Wayne Law students, faculty and alumni, I would like to thank Ford Motor Company for its generous contribution to the Law School and the legacy of Damon J. Keith," said Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman. "Judge Keith has significantly impacted the landscape of civil rights law over the course of his career and remains dedicated to ensuring and preserving justice and equality through the law."

Ackerman added, "He serves as a tremendous role model for Wayne Law students and has done so much to assist the Law School, the greater Detroit community, the state and the nation. It is time that we honor him and his legacy through the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights."

Seconds Ford Motor Company's Vella, "It is our pleasure to support the Keith Center. It is important for Wayne Law, Ford Motor Company and other area organizations to recognize and honor the great contributions that Judge Keith has made to both this community and to our nation. We look forward to the grand opening of the Center at Wayne Law and thank Judge Keith for all he has done and continues to do."

Groundbreaking on the Keith Center is scheduled for 2009. It is likely to be positioned to the north and west of the current Law Building on Wayne State University's campus.

"As a current Wayne Law student interested in pursuing a career in civil rights law, I am very thankful to those individuals, organizations and foundations helping to make the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights a reality," said Rita Subhedar, '10. "It will serve as a place of knowledge and pride for generations of students, alumni and community members to come."

For more information on the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights or how you can make a gift to Wayne Law, please contact Mary Hollens, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at (313) 577-3113 or

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 229,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit

About Wayne State University Law School
Wayne State University Law School has educated and served the Detroit metropolitan area since its inception as Detroit City Law School in 1927. Located at 471 West Palmer Street in Detroit's re-energized historic cultural center, the Law School remains committed to student success and features modern lecture and court facilities, multi-media and distance learning classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, and the Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation's 40 largest legal collections. Taught by an internationally recognized and expert faculty, Wayne Law students experience a high-quality legal education via a growing array of hands-on curricular offerings, five live-client clinics, and access to well over 100 internships with local and non-profit entities each year. Its 11,000 living alumni, who work in every state of the nation and more than a dozen foreign countries, are experts in their disciplines and include leading members of the local, national and international legal communities. For more information, visit