Academics & Faculty

School of Law receives $1 million to endow Shapiro Environmental Chair


The UCLA School of Law has received a $1 million commitment from the Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation to establish the Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Chair in Environmental Law. The Shapiro Chair will be awarded to a legal scholar of the highest academic and professional caliber working to advance the study and practice of environmental law. The gift will provide support for teaching, research and public service activities in this area.

"Shirley and Ralph Shapiro have been instrumental in the enrichment of UCLA's campus," said Michael H. Schill, dean of the law school. "Their decision to endow a chair for research in environmental law not only aids the law school in its goals but will have a broad influence outside of the UCLA School of Law."

The UCLA School of Law's Environmental Law Center houses the school's varied and interdisciplinary work related to environmental law and policy, including the work of UCLA's world-class environmental law faculty. The center includes the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic, which offers students the unique opportunity to obtain hands-on experience working on some of the most important environmental issues, and the Evan Frankel Environmental Law and Policy Program, which aims to foster informed analysis of timely and important issues involving governance and regulation in environmental policy.

Both Shirley and Ralph Shapiro have deep and lasting ties to UCLA. They received undergraduate degrees from UCLA in 1959 and 1953, respectively, and Ralph received his J.D. from the law school in 1958. In addition to their generous gifts, the Shapiros have given their unwavering support and attention to UCLA and have been active participants in the law school and university communities.

Ralph Shapiro, a longtime member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Directors, has also served as president of the School of Law Alumni Association and as a member of the law school's board of advisors. In recognition of his hard work to keep the School of Law a prominent institution of higher learning, he was named the 1983 Alumnus of the Year.

Shirley Shapiro is on the board of directors of UCLA Women & Philanthropy and the Royce Center Circle, as well as on the board of visitors for the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. She is an avid outdoorswoman, and protecting the environment is important to her.
"Because our world faces the most challenging environmental issues in history, we need to find innovative and thoughtful legal solutions," she said. "Environmental law will define the problems and frame the arguments that intersect with science and public policy to promote the health of our planet."

The Shapiro's philanthropic efforts also extend beyond UCLA to many organizations throughout Los Angeles and across the country that support the arts, environmental issues, children's health and human rights.

The UCLA School of Law, founded in 1949, is the youngest major law school in the nation and has established a tradition of innovation in its approach to teaching, research and scholarship. With approximately 100 faculty and 970 students, the has school pioneered clinical teaching, is a leader in interdisciplinary research and training, and is at the forefront of efforts to link research to its effects on society and the legal profession.
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