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Phoenix gift, grant net $900,000 for Insurance Law Center (Released: 10/24/96)

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, Office of University Communications.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut Law School will receive nearly $900,000 in endowment gifts and grants for its Insurance Law Center as the result of a gift and a challenge grant from Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Comp.

In addition to a direct gift of $150,000, Phoenix pledged $100,000 as a challenge grant and raised nearly $200,000 from law firms engaged in insurance work around the nation. For every two dollars these companies raised, Phoenix donated one dollar.

The $450,000 will be doubled with matching funds from the state under the UConn 2000 legislation, for a total of nearly $900,000.

"The Insurance Law Center will establish UConn as the nation's premier school for training lawyers who specialize in insurance," said Hugh Macgill, dean of the law school. "Its courses and programs in problems of risk and responsibility will also further Hartford's reputation and Hartford's substance as the center of the insurance industry in the United States and around the world."

As a result of Phoenix's initiative, the master's-degree program in insurance law -- planned as one of the center's principal activities -- will be named for Phoenix, Macgill added.

"The Insurance Law Center at the UConn School of Law will make a unique contribution to the teaching, understanding and advancement of insurance law and sound insurance legislation," said Robert W. Fiondella, Phoenix chairman, president, chief executive officer, and a 1970 graduate of the law school. "By supporting this effort, we will strengthen understanding of the vital roles insurance and law play in our society," he said.

The Insurance Law Center was established in 1994 through a combination of public and private funding. In the 1995-96 academic year, the center offered four courses in insurance law, more than any other law school in the country. Within three years, the center will offer 14 insurance and insurance-related courses.

The center's programs will include:

  • a first-class insurance law library and computer research facility;
  • the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, now in its third volume, the only student-edited academic review of insurance law;
  • an endowed chair in insurance law;
  • conferences and working groups on insurance law and policy;
  • research fellowships and internships;
  • and a master's program leading to the degree of Ll.M. in insurance law.

The center will serve students from around the country and around the world, as well as professionals from the local insurance industry.

According to Robert Googins, director of the Insurance Law Center, nearly all the funds necessary to meet the Phoenix challenge have been pledged by more than 20 law firms from around the country.

Participating Connecticut firms are: Day, Berry & Howard; Hebb & Gitlin; Robinson & Cole; LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae; Shipman & ; Goodwin; Cummings & Lockwood; and Pepe & Hazard. Major contributors from outside the state include Debevoise & Plimpton; Dorsey & Whitney; Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan; and Stroock, Stroock & Lavan.