A Historic Day for UK and the College of Law

Photo of J. David Rosenberg

Earlier this month, the University of Kentucky announced a historic $20 million gift to further strengthen the academic excellence of the College of Law and fulfill our mission as Kentucky’s flagship, land-grant University.

The gift – the third largest single donation in University history – was given by College of Law alumnus J. David Rosenberg and his wife, Dianne. Their generosity shows us what’s wildly possible not only for us as an institution, but as individuals leading lives of meaning and purpose.

I also had the privilege of attending the grand opening for our College of Law on Tuesday where we recognized, honored, and celebrated Mr. Rosenberg and the beautiful, state-of-the-art space that will serve to advance the future of the Commonwealth.

It was during this time that I was reminded, once again, of the simple but enduring truth that success has many mothers and fathers.

Mr. Rosenberg’s gift is an example of his deep commitment to the idea that those who follow him should receive the same potential for transformative education. Let us remember how fundamental teaching and education are in shaping us, guiding us, and illuminating for all of us the powerful idea that anything is possible.

And, since 1908, when the UK College of Law become one of the nation’s first state law schools, the College has provided a space where students are challenged and inspired: a space where ideas are confronted, refined, changed, and strengthened.  

Here, we empower our students to answer the call to serve, advocate, and uplift.

As Mr. Rosenberg said:

There is a saying that “education is an unfinished symphony.” We make music to stir hearts and minds, to force us to remember, and to compel us to commit to ideas larger than ourselves. We invest in education to honor those upon whose shoulders we stand, who made our success possible.

We invest in our faith in the future.

It’s the idea that what today’s students will compose and create as lawyers, legislators, judges, and community leaders – ideas, laws, and public policy – not only will deepen our understanding of the law, but make our society more just.

I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has invested in our students, our community, and our future.

Because of our partnership with the Commonwealth and the generosity of donors like David and Dianne, our students will be able to continue their pursuit of a fair and just society in a contemporary facility that will further enhance their experiences as students and professionals.

I also want to thank Dean David Brennen for his steadfast commitment to this College and its people, as well as Interim Dean Mary Davis for so ably fulfilling a critical leadership role during a vital time for the College of Law.  

It is for these reasons that I have recommended to the University Senate — and will recommend to the Board of Trustees — that the College of Law be named for Mr. Rosenberg. It would be UK’s third named college, in addition to the Gatton College of Business and Economics and the Lewis Honors College.

We look forward to seeing David Rosenberg’s legacy continue to come to life.

After all, as he beautifully said, anything is possible “when we are able to ignite the passions and feed the bright minds of our students.”