Law School Receives $5 Million Donation

Harvard Law School recently received a $5 million donation from Household International Inc., its largest gift in recent times.

The donation will likely be spent on an endowed chair and increased financial aid support for the Law School.

The Law School will split a larger, $10 million gift from Household, a Prospect Heights, II. financial services firm, with The Peddie School in New Jersey.

While Household gave no specific guidelines for the spending of the $5 million, Harvard Law School Dean Robert Clark said the "agreement in principle" is to devote the money to fund an endowed chair and financial aid programs came after consulting with Household executives and Law School administrators. Clark was enthusiastic about the recent gift, which he called a "terrific development."

"I'm delighted. It will be a big help for the Law School," he said. Although not officially finalized, the first half of the money will go toward an honorary chair in the area of commercial law."


"With the rest of the $5 million going to financial aid needs, the Law School will continue establishing a series of funds devoted to new areas of law studies," he added..

The paired donation was made in honor of Finn M. W. Caspersen, a graduate of both Peddie and HLS who is the outgoing CEO of Beneficial Corporation, which was acquired in an April stock swap by Household. Caspersen declined a position with Household, the largest consumer-finance and credit-card company in the country, and will instead follow a "second career" in charity work, according to a Law School statement.

During his years as a successful businessman, Caspersen also devoted much of his time to charitable organizations.

According to Michael J. Chmura, spokesperson for HLS, Caspersen was not only a member of the executive committee of Harvard Law School's immense fundraising campaign that ended in 1995, but also a "major donor to the campaign." As Caspersen is also chairman of the board at Peddie, these two institutions were prime targets for the Household donation on his behalf.

Both of these donations--for the professorship and the endowed chair--follow the $35 million renovation of Langdell Law Library, which was completed in fall 1997.

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