Scalia Law School receives largest gift in Mason history

George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School has received a gift of more than $50 million to support 13 new faculty chairs of approximately $4 million each. The bequest from the estate of the late Judge Allison M. Rouse and Mrs. Dorothy B. Rouse is the largest gift received in Mason’s history and will create a permanent endowment—the Allison and Dorothy Rouse Endowment.

“This is a transformational gift that will further strengthen our law school’s position among the best in the nation and will provide a strong foundation for our university,” said Mason President Ángel Cabrera. “Philanthropy is critical to our mission, and this generous endowment will propel Mason for years to come.”   

Judge Allison M. Rouse served four years in the Army in World War II before entering law school at the University of San Francisco where he met Dorothy Barker, whom he married in 1952. They lived in Redwood City, California, and were associated with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office for over a decade.

In 1971, Ronald Reagan, then California’s governor, appointed Judge Rouse to serve as an associate justice of the California Court of Appeals in San Francisco. He retired from the bench in 1988 and worked for a decade as a private judge and arbitrator before he died in 2005 at age 86. A colleague remembers Judge Rouse as “a truly decent and caring man who cared deeply about the law.”

Mrs. Rouse was born in San Francisco, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1946, and earned her law degree in 1949. She spent most of her career with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office. She died in May 2018 at the age of 93.

“We are grateful for this generous gift from Mrs. Rouse,” said Scalia Law School Dean Henry N. Butler. “Judge Rouse and Justice Scalia were both appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan, and Mrs. Rouse was an enthusiastic fan of Justice Scalia. Mrs. Rouse was proud to leave a legacy that supports the lasting scholarship and jurisprudence of Justice Scalia.”

The Scalia Law School has 44 full-time faculty and a total enrollment of 525 students, and has been in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report rankings for 18 consecutive years. In 2018, the school was ranked #18 in Shanghai’s Global Rankings for Law, and #19 for Scholarly Impact in Brian Leiter’s Law School Report.

“The Rouses’ gift is a major investment in the intellectual capacity of the Scalia Law School and will enable Mason to recognize, recruit and retain outstanding faculty members—many of whom are among the most astute legal minds in the country,” Mason Provost David Wu said. “These endowed faculty chairs will further strengthen our ability to provide top-notch legal education for our students.”

This is the third historic gift received by Mason to support the Antonin Scalia Law School. In 2016, the George Mason University Foundation received two gifts—one for $20 million and one for $10 million—to rename the law school in honor of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Rouse gift brings the university’s 10-year Faster Farther campaign to a close. The comprehensive campaign was publicly launched in September 2015 with a $500 million goal. Faster Farther officially concluded Dec. 31, 2018, with a total of more than $690 million raised to support students, faculty, research and campus facilities. More than 73,000 donors made gifts over the decade-long course of the campaign.