Largest Individual Gift in History of Law School Will Transform Judicial Education Statewide
First-of-its-kind initiative funded by esteemed alumnus Thomas R. Kline pairs Duquesne and Pa. law schools with courts
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Duquesne University President Ken Gormley today announced the largest individual gift in its law school’s history — $7.5 million to establish the “Thomas R. Kline Center for Judicial Education.” The gift will enable Duquesne’s School of Law to create the first-of-its-kind program in the nation. To be conducted in conjunction with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the program will coordinate with deans and law scholars at Pennsylvania’s nine law schools to establish an innovative, high-level curriculum of courses and seminars for the state’s more than 600 trial and appellate judges.
“It gives me great pride to help establish the Kline Center for Judicial Education, which for me personally is the intersection of my pride in my alma mater, my commitment to legal education, my respect for the judicial process and the need for the highest standards for lawyers and judges,” said Thomas R. Kline, a prominent 1978 Duquesne Law School alumnus and founding partner of the law firm Kline & Specter, PC, and one of the state’s most successful trial attorneys. “There could be no better place in America for this unique model for judicial education and research to be established than at Duquesne University School of Law, which has a historic commitment to public service and an unparalleled alumni list of distinguished trial and appellate judges who have served the commonwealth and the nation.”
In announcing the gift, Gormley stated, “The creation of the Thomas R. Kline Center for Judicial Education, in partnership with the Pennsylvania courts, and in collaboration with other law schools, is the first of its kind in the nation. We expect it to become a national model for judicial education in a new era.” Gormley added, “We will draw on expertise not only from legal scholars, but also from experts in science, psychology, health sciences, ethics, and other areas necessary for sophisticated judicial decision-making, utilizing talent from universities across Pennsylvania. We are deeply appreciative to our alumnus Tom Kline, who has been committed throughout his career to the highest possible level of legal education in our commonwealth, and has stepped up to support his alma mater with this history-making gift to create the Center. We are also appreciative that Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts, have collaborated with Duquesne University to create this historic partnership to further advance the system of justice in our commonwealth. It is a truly exciting moment for Duquesne Law School. We are honored to lead this important initiative.”
The Kline Center will also work with the deans and legal scholars at all nine law schools in Pennsylvania (including Duquesne’s School of Law) to create a statewide network designed to provide an innovative, high-level judicial education to more than 600 Pennsylvania jurists across the state.
“Our goal is to assure that judicial officers in Pennsylvania have the requisite skills and knowledge to fulfill their judicial responsibilities with integrity, adherence to the rule of law, and the highest standards of ethical behavior,” said Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Thomas G. Saylor. “The Supreme Court’s ongoing continuing judicial education efforts are paramount to achieving this goal. We are grateful to Duquesne University for partnering with us, and indeed, to all the law schools for their anticipated involvement in this most important undertaking.”
The Thomas R. Kline Center for Judicial Education will be housed at Duquesne University School of Law. It is expected that the Center will begin searching for an executive director immediately, with a goal of working with the Judicial Education Department of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to begin delivering courses in 2018.
“We are thrilled that Duquesne University School of Law has been given this extraordinary opportunity to facilitate public service of the judicial branch in our commonwealth at the very highest level,” said Dean Maureen Lally-Green, who previously served as a judge on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania for eleven years. “The Kline Center will provide an invaluable learning opportunity for our faculty and students as they assist in the great work of the Center. We express our deep thanks to our distinguished alum Tom Kline, and to the Pennsylvania Courts, for proposing this important position of trust in Duquesne’s Law School.”
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.