SMU Dedman Law Announces New Center For Business Law And Leadership

Combined gifts of $4 million will create the new Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law and Leadership in SMU’s Dedman School of Law to train the next generation of prominent legal and business leaders and influence national conversations surrounding business and corporate law. 

At the request of an anonymous donor who made the lead gift, the center is being named in honor of Dallas businessman Robert B. Rowling, owner of the holding company for the Omni Hotels and Resorts chain and Gold’s Gym International. Rowling received an undergraduate degree in business before graduating from SMU’s Dedman School of Law in 1979.

“Bob Rowling is the perfect example of the combined skills that will be the focus of the new center,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Today’s law students will be navigating careers that we cannot even imagine at the moment. They need training in ethical leadership, business analytics and entrepreneurship to develop the skills they will need to be successful. The Rowling Center has a role to play in shaping the future of business and corporate law.” 

The Rowling Center will introduce new leadership training into the law school's curriculum to promote professionalism, soft skills and core business skills. The program will build on the legal and business acumen centered in Dallas, collaborating with SMU’s Cox School of Business. The center also will enhance Dedman Law’s mentoring program and provide new opportunities for students to connect with SMU’s extensive network of highly successful alumni and supporters. 

The joint J.D./M.B.A. degree programs will be closely connected with the Rowling Center and its broader activities. 

“I am honored to have my name associated with this center for several reasons,” Rowling said. “Dedman Law is my alma mater, of course, and I know from personal experience that a law degree is very useful in business. The center’s emphasis on business law and leadership will train law students in critical areas of business and position them well for future career success.” 

A gift of $3 million from an anonymous donor, in addition to $1 million from the Dedman Foundation, will launch the center in fall 2018.

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