On September 1, the University of Utah and the S.J. Quinney College of Law celebrated the opening of its new state-of-the-art building, which is intended to foster innovation in legal education, bolster service to the local and global communities, and provide students with enhanced opportunities for skills training.
In his introductory remarks, Dean Bob Adler welcomed the audience of more than 700 and thanked the building’s many supporters, including representatives of the largest donors to the Building Justice Capital Campaign to date: the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation, which over a decade ago provided a remarkably generous gift to endow the college and gave the lead gift that allowed the building campaign to begin; the Alternative Visions Fund; and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other major donors recognized at the event included Kem and Carolyn Gardner, Roger and Colleen Thompson, Jonathan and Tina Ruga, Jackson Howard, Richard & Suzanne Burbidge, Stephen and Paula Crockett, and Colin & Wendy King. Dean Adler expressed appreciation to all donors who supported the project and made the new facility possible.
Additional presenters included University President David Pershing, Governor Gary Herbert, Senator Orrin Hatch, and Pastor Rick Lawson of the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation, as well as two current students, Jugraj Dhaliwal and Krystaly Koch. The program concluded with the banging of an oversized gavel wielded by several of the assembled dignitaries to “call this law school into session,” which prompted the audience to erupt in applause.
The building includes a number of innovative features, including a chilled beam HVAC system, which uses water to efficiently move energy; lighting controls and natural light, which reduce energy usage in the building; and enhanced accessibility features.
Adler emphasized that the building’s design features will be harnessed to extend the college’s tradition of educating excellent lawyers. “Legal education is increasingly moving in the direction of applied, hands-on learning,” he said. “We have been a leader in that area for many years, but this new facility will allow us to build on that excellence with dedicated simulation training facilities, room for our service learning programs, and cutting edge technology for skills training.” He also focused on student success by announcing a dramatic 100/100 initiative to attain 100 percent bar passage and 100 percent professional employment for new graduates, along with a scholarship campaign to help make law school more affordable.
Longtime College of Law supporter and alum Dick Burbidge agreed. “This is not just about an exceptional building; it is about sustaining a tradition of excellence in legal training and projecting into the future essential elements of our brilliant legal culture necessary to sustain our democracy against a wide range of challenges. The singular vision and effort necessary to bring the project about speaks to the care and concern that all must share if our society is to sustain and strengthen an independent judicial system, the central pillar of an open, equitable, and free society.”