Jerome Katzin '41 Gives $1M to Endow Edward H. Levi Distinguished Jurists Program Fund

Katzin Gives $1M to Endow Edward H. Levi Distinguished Jurists Program Fund
Law School Office of Communications
October 16, 2013

The University of Chicago Law School is proud to announce that Jerome S. Katzin, ’41, has endowed the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Jurists Program with a gift to the Law School of $1 million. The Fund will provide support for interaction between judges and the Law School faculty members and students.

“Jerry’s gift supports a critical endeavor for the Law School—bringing judges into direct and regular contact with our students and faculty,” said Michael H. Schill, Dean of the Law School and Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law. “Understanding how judges make decisions is a critical part of legal education and scholarship. Our students spend a great deal of their time reading case law and will benefit tremendously from getting an ‘inside’ view of judicial thought. In addition, the empirical and theoretical study of judicial decision-making has long been a focus of faculty scholarship at the Law School. The opportunity for faculty members to be in conversation with judges will also enrich faculty research on substantive legal issues and make that research assessable to judges. I could not be more delighted that Jerry has chosen to support this tremendous addition to our intellectual life.”

Katzin’s gift will support a variety of programs designed to increase interaction between the Law School community and the judiciary. Most immediately, the Fund will support the appointment of Edward H. Levi Distinguished Visiting Jurists, who are judges invited each year to spend time at the Law School, speak to students, and present a workshop to faculty. The Distinguished Visiting Jurist Program started in the 2012-13 school year, with well-received visits from five judges.

Katzin’s generous gift reflects his admiration for Edward H. Levi, the legendary former Attorney General of the United States, Dean of the University of Chicago Law School, and President of the University of Chicago. He taught Katzin’s first-year legal theory course, which was only Levi’s second year on the faculty. “That class possibly has meant more to me in my lifetime than any other course I took,” Katzin said.

Jerome Katzin spent most of his career at the prominent investment bank Kuhn Loeb & Company, which merged with Lehman Brothers. As a partner there, he pioneered innovative methods for private financing of rural electric utilities. Katzin joined Lehman Brothers after serving as the director of the Public Utilities Division at the SEC. Katzin has been a director of companies that include technology giant Qualcomm and the former oil and gas company Coastal Corporation. He has been active in municipal financing, merchant shipping, aircraft and equipment leasing, and as a financial advisor to federal and state entities. He also served in the United States Army during World War II. He and his wife of 72 years, Miriam, met while students at the College at the University of Chicago.

The Katzins’ philanthropies include contributions to education, medical research, and Jewish studies. Katzin is a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of California at San Diego and was formerly a trustee and President of the UC San Diego Foundation. He continues to serve on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Rady School of Management at UCSD. He was a trustee of the San Diego Foundation.

“Jerry is an absolute treasure, and I have very much enjoyed getting to know him and hearing about what the Law School was like in the 1930s and 1940s,” Schill said. “He is our living history, and his extraordinary life, legal skills, and business acumen are not only a testament to the talent of our alumni, but a template for preparing our students for the future. I can only hope that Jerry’s gift has as much of an impact on our current students as Edward Levi had on Jerry.”

Michael H. Schill