Pacific McGeorge gets gift to create chair in honor of Justice Kennedy

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law has received a $1 million gift from the Tsakopoulos Family Foundation that will support a new Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Endowed Chair. The gift will be doubled by the university’s Powell Fund match to create a $2 million endowment.

“We are extremely grateful for this incredible gift,” said McGeorge Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz. “The generosity shown by the Tsakopoulos family to McGeorge is an investment that ensures Justice Kennedy’s legacy as an inspiring teacher and tireless advocate of civil discourse will endure in perpetuity.”

Angelo and Sofia K. Tsakopoulos are longtime friends of Anthony and Mary Kennedy and the McGeorge School of Law. Angelo Tsakopoulos’ son, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos, is a 1997 McGeorge alumnus. The endowed chair will provide the resources to bring prominent faculty to McGeorge to teach and advance legal thinking through scholarship and leadership in the legal community. 

“My family’s gift to McGeorge celebrates my decades of friendship with the Kennedy family,” said Angelo Tsakopoulos. “McGeorge is where he has made an impact teaching many students, and this gift will continue his inspiration for decades.”

A Sacramento native, Kennedy has long ties to McGeorge as a supporter and a professor of constitutional law for more than 20 years before his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since his Supreme Court appointment, he has taught a course in fundamental rights in Europe and the United States to students attending McGeorge’s summer program in Salzburg, Austria.

Kennedy was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 after having served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers cases from the western United States, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, since 1975. Prior to his elevation to the bench, he practiced law in Sacramento and began teaching constitutional law at McGeorge in 1965. Kennedy retired from the U.S. Supreme Court on July 31.