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Alum Donates $1.2M To HLS

By Douglas M. Pravda

A Harvard Law School graduate who is the managing partner of one of the world's leading leveraged buy-out firms has donated $1.2 million to establish a law school professorship, officials announced yesterday.

The gift from Robert B. Haas, chair of the executive board and CEO of Haas Wheat & Partners, Inc., creates the Haas Visiting Professorship in corporate finance law, Dean of the Law School Robert C. Clark announced in a press release.

"I've always had a very strong belief that Harvard Law School has had a great deal to do with the success which I've been privileged to enjoy, both in my business life and in the strong personal bonds I've created within my personal life," Haas said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I wanted to show the Law School in a very tangible way my appreciation for that."

"Harvard Law School is profoundly indebted to Robert and Candice Haas for their generosity in support of the Haas Visiting Professorship," Clark said in a statement. "Generations of students to come will benefit from this addition to the school's academic program, which will support visits by many great teachers and practitioners."

Haas' wife, Candice J. Haas, is a founder and co-owner of the publishing firm Directories On The Go, Inc.

Robert Haas, 48, has been actively involved in private investments since 1978, specializing in buyouts and acquisitions. In 1992, he founded Haas Wheat & Partners, a Dallas-based private investment firm.

"The firm and its predecessor firms have been involved in some of the more prominent corporate activities over the last decade or so," said Andy Stern, spokesperson for Haas Wheat & Partners.

The firm's acquisitions have included Dr. Pepper Co., The Seven Up Co. and Playtex Products, Inc., according to Stern.

Haas cited superb management partners, hard work and good fortune as the keys to his firm's nationwide reputation.

Haas attended Yale University as an undergraduate.

While at Harvard Law School, he studied corporate finance and securities law.

"My studies in corporate finance certainly planted some seeds in terms of a desire to practice in this area," Haas said.

He said one of the reasons he wanted to create a professorship in corporate finance was that the field had enabled him to make the gift to the Law School.

But he said his personal success in corporate finance was not the only reason for his donation to the Law School.

"The area of corporate law is a rapidly evolving area which embraces a number of areas of the law which are undergoing rapid change," he said. "I also believe it is a subject matter which law students will find directly applicable to a number of different career options which they would have after law school."

He said his decision to make the professorship a visiting one came after extensive discussions with Clark.

"We thought a visiting professorship would provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of being a forum for a variety of different law professors, scholars and members of the business community, and would also be a professorship whose subject matter could change more easily from year to year, since the area of corporate finance law is such a broad area," Haas said.

Haas, a 1972 graduate of Harvard Law School, was a classmate of Clark, and the two had section together during their first year of law school, Haas said.

"The gift has special meaning because of the fact that...Clark was my classmate at Harvard Law 25 years ago, and I know that Bob [Clark] gained an extra measure of satisfaction from the fact that this gift came out of our class," Haas said.

"It truly has been my ambition for over 25 years to do something very special to acknowledge what I know to be the major role which my education at Harvard Law School has had in my life, and upon giving this gift, I really have had a deep sense of satisfaction that I have finally realized that ambition," Haas said

The firm's acquisitions have included Dr. Pepper Co., The Seven Up Co. and Playtex Products, Inc., according to Stern.

Haas cited superb management partners, hard work and good fortune as the keys to his firm's nationwide reputation.

Haas attended Yale University as an undergraduate.

While at Harvard Law School, he studied corporate finance and securities law.

"My studies in corporate finance certainly planted some seeds in terms of a desire to practice in this area," Haas said.

He said one of the reasons he wanted to create a professorship in corporate finance was that the field had enabled him to make the gift to the Law School.

But he said his personal success in corporate finance was not the only reason for his donation to the Law School.

"The area of corporate law is a rapidly evolving area which embraces a number of areas of the law which are undergoing rapid change," he said. "I also believe it is a subject matter which law students will find directly applicable to a number of different career options which they would have after law school."

He said his decision to make the professorship a visiting one came after extensive discussions with Clark.

"We thought a visiting professorship would provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of being a forum for a variety of different law professors, scholars and members of the business community, and would also be a professorship whose subject matter could change more easily from year to year, since the area of corporate finance law is such a broad area," Haas said.

Haas, a 1972 graduate of Harvard Law School, was a classmate of Clark, and the two had section together during their first year of law school, Haas said.

"The gift has special meaning because of the fact that...Clark was my classmate at Harvard Law 25 years ago, and I know that Bob [Clark] gained an extra measure of satisfaction from the fact that this gift came out of our class," Haas said.

"It truly has been my ambition for over 25 years to do something very special to acknowledge what I know to be the major role which my education at Harvard Law School has had in my life, and upon giving this gift, I really have had a deep sense of satisfaction that I have finally realized that ambition," Haas said

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