Fishman '78 gift establishes endowed professorship

September 28, 2012Duke Law News

Duke Law School has announced a $1.25 million gift from Mark Fishman ’78 that will create a new distinguished professorship at Duke Law. 

Fishman’s gift to establish the professorship is being matched by funds from the Stanley A. Star Matching Gift Fund (the Star Challenge Fund), established in 2011 by Stanley Star ’61 and his wife, Elizabeth Star.

"Mark has been such a devoted alumnus, in so many ways," said Dean David F. Levi. "His enthusiasm for Duke Law, its faculty and students, is inspiring.  Whether it is the funding of new faculty or student scholarships, Mark is the ‘go to’ guy because of his dedication to the School and to philanthropy.  This latest gift is an expression of his deep gratitude to Duke Law and to our faculty, and his fervent hope that Duke Law will provide to future students what he experienced here in his time.  We are grateful to him for his loyalty, leadership and vision."

Fishman, CEO of F&T Apparel LLC, and a life member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors, said his gift stands, in part, as a tribute to “the unbelievably good leadership and stewardship” of the two deans he has worked most closely with, Katharine T. Bartlett and David F. Levi.  “I think Dean Levi is an extraordinary leader, as was Kate before him,” he said.  “Dean Levi’s vision for the Law School is wonderful.” 

Through his longtime support of scholarships and fellowships, Fishman also has facilitated need-based financial aid for Duke Law students. Now, by endowing a distinguished professorship at Duke Law, Fishman said he aims to bolster the main draw for students — “great educators.” 

Fishman, who is active in numerous charities in his hometown of Philadelphia, offered a straightforward rationale for his philanthropy: “I’ve been lucky and so I have a responsibility to give back. People who have been lucky enough to have had successful careers owe it to the next generation to do whatever they can to allow them to have successful careers.” 

He said he hopes his gift will inspire his fellow alumni to support Duke Law and to take advantage, as he has, of the challenge funds established by the Stars to match gifts to endow professorships and scholarships. In addition to the 2011 gift for professorships, the Stars recently contributed another $5 million gift to Duke Law to create a financial aid matching program and establish three full-tuition scholarships at Duke Law.

“The challenge fund is a wonderful tool, and the Stars are ‘superstars’ to do this kind of thing,” said Fishman.  “If you are considering making a significant gift, it is the thing that pushes you over.  It’s as though you’re in Vegas thinking about betting a dollar and knowing you’re going to win two.”

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