Osgoode Hall Law School has earned its reputation as one of the finest law schools in the country. Now, after a very successful fundraising campaign, the school looks to be on its way to being better than ever.
The “Building Osgoode” campaign, which was publicly launched in May 2007, came to a close on April 30. In addition to the $25 million donated by the federal and provincial governments, and the $15 million donated by York University, the campaign raised more than $38 million. In total, $78 million has been committed to Osgoode, making it the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian law school history.
“It was a comprehensive campaign, meaning that we weren’t trying to raise the money for just one specific thing,” says Anita Herrmann, director of the Office of Advancement at Osgoode.
“This is why it’s not called the Osgoode building campaign, but rather the Building Osgoode campaign. We’re raising money for a variety of different things to help transform the law school and to help prepare us for the continuing evolution of education.”
The campaign, which was heavily supported by alumni as well as current students and faculty, will result in many positive changes and improvements at Osgoode.
The centrepiece will be the renovation and expansion of Osgoode’s main building, which will be overseen by renowned architect Jack Diamond. It will be renamed the Ignat Kaneff Building in recognition of the founder of Kaneff Properties Ltd., Ignat Kaneff, who donated $2.5 million.
The aim is to make the building more appealing to students, with more windows allowing classrooms to be lit with natural light.
“The current building really limited our opportunity to develop further program centres because there simply wasn’t enough space,” says Herrmann.
“The new building is going to give us significantly more space, and we’re going to be able to have more programming along with improved space for students.”
Indeed, the current building appears to be fairly outdated. A lack of windows results in little sunlight getting into classrooms, and the cafeteria is located in the basement, which is completely windowless.
With the new funds, these issues can be addressed. The cafeteria, for example, will now be located on the main level, overlooking a pond — a vast improvement and one that will surely be welcomed by students and faculty.
“The fact is, people didn’t really like to be in the building before,” says Herrmann. “This new building will have a much better layout, and it’ll make people want to stay inside it.”
The renovations, while significant, are just the beginning, and the money raised will be going to many different areas of the law school.
Jay and Barbara Hennick donated $3 million that will go towards the creation of the Jay and Barbara Hennick Centre for Business and Law. Two academic chairs will be established: the Jarislowsky Dimma Mooney Chair in Corporate Governance and the Osler Chair in Business Law.
Additionally, 88 new endowed student awards have been created, and several new academic programs will come into effect. Canada Law Book donated $1 million that will go towards a rare books room in the law library, and another $1 million donated by the Paul B. Helliwell Foundation will be used for a state-of-the-art electronic dispute resolution facility. Clearly, Osgoode is set for consistent improvement in the near future.
“It’s an incredible achievement for a law school. I don’t know that anyone has ever come close to raising the money that we’ve raised,” says Herrmann.
“It’s certainly going to allow us to move ahead in ways that we otherwise never could have imagined. The space, the chairs, all of it is going to add up to a much-improved, better school.”
You can watch the renovations live on Osgoode’s reno webcam.