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January 20, 2016

Villanova gets $25 million for law school, second-largest gift in university's history

Law school will be renamed after businessman Charles Widger

Law Business
Villanova University Villanova University/Facebook

Villanova University.

Villanova University's law school is getting the largest gift in its history: $25 million from a grateful alum.

It's the second-largest gift ever for the university as a whole, and the law school will be renamed in honor of donor Charles Widger, who got his law degree there in 1973. Widger served as a Navy lieutenant and an assistant attorney general for the Pennsylvania Department of Justice before going on to found Brinker Capital, an investment firm in Berwyn.

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It's all part of a larger fundraising campaign started in 2013 that has raised $500 million for the Catholic university so far, out of a goal of $600 million.

Widger's business background fits in well with the school's unofficial motto of "where law meets business." Business coursework and professional development are a standard part of the Main Line school's curriculum, and Villanova retains close ties to Philadelphia-area firms to help its students find jobs.

“My investment in Villanova Law is an investment in the preservation of the two institutions that are vital to a free society, the rule of law and a market economy, both of which will enable us to flourish as a people for generations to come,” Widger said in a statement

The money will be used for scholarships, an interdisciplinary professorship position and an "innovation fund" for strategic and academic programs.