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Loyola University New Orleans awarded $960,000 for chair and professorships

Loyola press release - July 24, 2003

(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans School of Law will house Louisiana’s first $2,000,000 endowed chair at a law school, according to Loyola President, the Rev. Bernard P. Knoth, S.J. The Board of Regents has awarded Loyola University $800,000 which, when added to generous gifts from the family of Wendell H. Gauthier, a 1970 graduate of the law school, and from Michael X. St. Martin, a 1967 graduate of the law school, will establish the Wendell H. Gauthier-Michael X. St. Martin Eminent Scholar Chair in Environmental Law. The Board of Regents also awarded Loyola an additional $160,000 as matching funds for private gifts of $240,000. These funds will be used to endow four professorships.

The Gauthier-St. Martin chair will address legal issues of importance to private industry, government, and the public that are instrumental in the decision-making process relative to economic development, protection of the environment, and the public’s role in environmental policy questions. The chair will provide an essential resource to Louisiana as an eminent scholar focused on environmental issues of concern to the state’s business and environmental interests.

Loyola’s award-winning proposal outlined the combination of environmental challenges Louisiana faces, a combination unique to our state. The Mississippi River empties chemicals and waste absorbed from 41 percent of the continental United States and two Canadian provinces. The state has one of the largest petrochemical corridors in the nation and is one of the nation’s leading production centers of oil and gas. Forty percent of the nation’s fisheries are off the coast of Louisiana and are threatened by over-fishing; there is an oxygen-free zone the size of New Jersey in the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana is a primary focus of environmental justice campaigns and has a coastline experiencing 80 percent of the nation’s total wetlands loss. These challenges made a compelling case for state and private funding for a legal scholar who will address these issues not only in the classroom but also through public dialogue at the state and federal levels.

“By their very nature, environmental problems require an interdisciplinary approach to the study of their causes and their impact on society,” Knoth said. “The resolution of environmental problems requires utilization of the legal system, with particular emphasis on providing clear and economically manageable legislative and administrative guidelines for business planning purposes and a forum for interaction between groups with potentially different concerns. Establishing an eminent legal scholar in environmental law at Loyola will complement the university’s four other Eminent Scholar Chairs concerned with environmental studies and will provide unique collaborative opportunities for scholars, government agencies, courts, environmental advocacy groups and industries throughout the state.”

“The Gauthier-St. Martin Chair will have a significant impact on the quality of academics and scholarship at the School of Law,” Law Dean James Klebba said. “With the presence of Louisiana first $2,000,000 chair, law students will benefit from the knowledge and teaching of a legal scholar who is a nationally-recognized expert in environmental law and issues. In turn this will help our graduates make positive contributions to Louisiana’s environment and the future of our state.”

“This gift to Loyola Law School is something Wendell wanted us to do very much,” said his wife Anne Gauthier. (Mr. Gauthier died in December 2001.) “Loyola was always good to Wendell and this gift is our way of thanking Loyola. We are thrilled to be able to help fund this new chair in environmental law that will benefit the residents of Louisiana--this is what Wendell was interested in and involved with and it would definitely please him to know that it has come to fruition.”

Based on the heritage of Catholic Jesuit higher education in Louisiana since 1849, Loyola University New Orleans was chartered in 1912. The Loyola School of Law operates both a day program for full-time students and an evening program for part-time students with a total enrollment of approximately 850 students and 43 faculty members. The law school is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is accredited by the American Bar Association. Visit Loyola University New Orleans at www. loyno.edu