Harvard Law School has received the largest cash gift ever given to a law school, a $13 million donation made by a couple who met and married at the school almost 40 years ago, the University will announce today.
Gustave M. Hauser, chair and CEO of Hauser Communications, and Rita E. Hauser made the joint gift to help the Law School "achieve its future growth and goal," Mr. Hauser said in an interview yesterday.
The gift will be used to finance the Law School's new Holmes Field building, which opened earlier this fall. In recognition of the gift, the building will be named Hauser Hall and formally dedicated next April.
Since the building's construction, the Law School has been searching for a donor who would cover the bulk of the cost. The new edifice came with a price tag of "a little more than $13 million," said Dean Robert C. Clark.
"We saw [the Hausers] in New York and invited them to the campus this spring," Clark said. "It was a beautiful day and they fell in love with the new building."
Gustave Hauser, who received a degree from the Law School in 1953, was a teaching fellow at the school when his future wife entered as a first-year student in 1955.
"This is the true 'Love Story' of the Harvard Law School and I sure like the ending a lot better than the one in the movie," Clark said. "I'm absolutely delighted by their generosity, and it's making all the difference at the Law School."
The Hausers' gift came a few months after the Law School approached them about contributing to the school's five-year effort to raise $150 million, Clark said.
"[This gift] means that we have a good chance of meeting our ambitious goal of $150 million," Clark said. "It reduces our debt burden tremendously."
With the Hausers' gift, the Law School, which started its portion of the $2.1 billion University-wide capital campaign early, has raised $134 million. The gift surpassed the school's previous record gift, a $5 million donation made by the Saudi royal family to fund a program in the law of the Middle East.
"We've always been in touch with the Law School," Gustave Hauser said. "We might have done it whether or not there was a campaign."
Gustave Hauser said his marriage to Rita Hauser added a special dimension to their gift.
"It's a major gift and I think it's certainly recognizing in a way that the school had a unique role in inadvertently bringing us together," Gustave Hauser said. "But for that we probably would've never met."
"Fate only does it once," he said.
Gustave Hauser, the former chair and CEO of Warner Cable, had a major role in the development of stations such as MTV and Nickelodeon.
Rita Hauser, currently president of the Hauser Foundation, also serves on the visiting committee to the Kennedy School of Government and the advisory council for Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
Gustave Hauser said: "I hope [the gift] will be a symbolic thing for furthur giving to the Law School and the University and maybe even other law schools."
A dedication ceremony will take place today at 12 p.m. at the steps of Hauser Hall