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Gifts bolster Drake Law School’s offerings

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President David Maxwell; Drake alumnus and Drake Board of Trustees member Dan Jacobi, vice president and general counsel of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.; Law School Dean David Walker; and Donna and Wayne Kern, LW’72, gather after the announcement of

Drake recently announced $5.25 million worth of gifts that will sponsor a pair of endowed faculty chairs and provide scholarship opportunities at the Drake Law School.

Drake President David Maxwell, joined by David Walker, Drake Law School dean, made the announcement at the Iowa State Bar Association Annual Meeting in Des Moines earlier this summer.

A gift of $1.5 million from Wayne and Donna Kern will sponsor an endowed chair in honor of the Kern family, the focus of which will be determined as part of an on-going effort to strengthen Drake Law School.

Kern, a 1972 Drake Law School alumnus, attended Drake Law School as a non-traditional student after a career as high school teacher and banker in Macomb, IL. He went on to a career in merger and acquisitions law, the majority of it in the cable television and communications area. He team-taught a mergers and acquisitions course at Drake Law School and has volunteered at the Drake Legal Clinic. His sons, Brian Kern, a lawyer in Colfax, and Matthew Kern, a Des Moines real estate attorney, both graduated from Drake Law School.

A $750,000 leadership gift from Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., a subsidiary of DuPont, is earmarked for a dynamic new program in intellectual property law, Walker said. The gift is intended to be part of the funding by a broad coalition of industry and alumni aimed at strengthening Drake’s intellectual property law program.

The program will focus on educating regulators, judges and practicing attorneys, and will be a powerful voice for the importance of strong intellectual property rights in biotechnology on a global basis.

Finally, Dwight Opperman, a 1951 Drake law alumnus, donated $3 million to further endow the Opperman Scholar program. The fund awards five or more merit-based, full-tuition scholarships for outstanding first-year students, and the scholarships are renewable. In addition, the program provides an annual grant of $10,000 to each Opperman Scholar to help pay for books and living expenses while attending Drake Law School.

The gifts bolster the Drake Law School’s efforts to build its regional and national profile. President Maxwell recently announced the University’s commitment to ensuring that within five years the Drake Law School will be recognized as one of the best law schools in the Midwest.