Media mogul Sumner Redstone has donated $18 million to the Boston University School of Law, the college said Thursday.
The gift will, in part, fund the construction of a new building to be named after the Boston native, who is executive chairman of CBS Corporation and Viacom Inc.
“This gift comes at a pivotal moment in the history of our School of Law, and it will have a tremendous impact in two ways,” BU president Robert A. Brown said in a statement.
“First, it will permanently link the school with the Redstone name, which will forever set a high standard for our work in legal education and scholarship. And second, it means that our long-deferred dream of transforming the School of Law campus can now begin with the groundbreaking for this new building,” Brown said.
The Sumner M. Redstone Building, a five-story addition to the current “Law Tower,” will house a majority of the school’s classrooms, allow for the expansion of available study space, and host professional education programs, university officials said.
“It’s huge for the law school,” Law School dean Maureen O’Rourke said Thursday evening. “The students and faculty are so pleased and so excited about it because it moves us far forward on a building project that has been many years in planning and positions us to focus on raising money for other purposes, like financial aid and student services.”
Redstone, who received an honorary law degree from BU in 1994 and who has taught at the school, said he wanted to make an impact for future students.
“Boston University School of Law is one of the finest institutions of legal scholarship in the world and deserves a home that will enable it to continue to innovate and build on that legacy,” Redstone, 89, said in a statement. “As a former faculty member, native Bostonian, and the proud parent of a BU Law graduate, I could not be more pleased to provide this gift that will benefit generations of future students.”
Redstone began his education at Boston Latin School, where he graduated at the top of his class, and then attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
As a faculty member at the BU law school, he created one of the country’s first entertainment law courses, the university said. He also influenced the school’s curriculum for protecting intellectual property in the entertainment industry.
Redstone has sponsored the Boston University Redstone Film Festival, which features projects produced by BU graduate and undergraduate students, for over 30 years, the school said.
Forbes has estimated his net worth at $4.4 billion.
The Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation donated $650,000 to the Global Poverty Project last June, a year after giving $1.5 million to the same cause, the Globe reported.
In 2007, Redstone donated $35 million to the Massachusetts General Hospital burn unit and emergency department. The Globe reported at the time that Redstone’s gift was the largest in the hospital’s history.