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11/30/2010

OU receives $1.5 million commitment from the Stuart Family Foundation to assist in establishing the John B. Turner LL.M Program at the College of Law

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced a $1.5 million gift from the Stuart Family Foundation of Tulsa to assist in establishing the John B. Turner Master of Laws (LL.M) Program in the OU College of Law. The establishment of the program is contingent on final approval by the State Regents for Higher Education.

Boren said, “As with so many of the University’s most important initiatives, Regent Stuart and his wife, Dee Dee, through their family foundation, are providing key support for this new program, which the College of Law is initiating in the fall of 2011.” The Regents voted to name the LL.M program in honor of John B. Turner, a leading Tulsa attorney.

Boren announced the gift at a College of Law reception coinciding with a regular meeting of the OU Board of Regents.           

Regent Stuart is president and chief executive officer of First Stuart Corp., a Tulsa-based family investment company.  Turner is executive vice president and general counsel of First Stuart Corp., and a partner in the Stuart, Biolchini & Turner law firm. Turner earned a bachelor’s degree and a J.D. from the University of Tulsa and earned his own LL.M from Washington University in St. Louis in 1975.  His practice area of expertise is estate planning. He was admitted to the bar in 1967 as well as the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. Turner served as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy in 1967-1970 and was admitted to the U.S. Tax Court in 1971. He is a member of the Tulsa County, Oklahoma and American Bar Associations and a Fellow of American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. In addition, he serves as a trustee of the Merkel Family Foundation and the Frances Langford Foundation, and is a board member of the Tulsa Psychiatric Center.

The new 24-credit program, which will provide students with an additional year of training after receiving their Juris Doctorate in Law, will strengthen the college’s long-standing stature as a leader in the fields of energy, natural resources, and indigenous peoples and establish the first LL.M program in the United States with this precise focus.

“The College of Law has had long history of excellence and expertise in the fields of energy, natural resources, and Native American law,” Boren said.  “Noted professors such as Maurice Merrill, Victor Kulp, Eugene Kuntz, Richard Hemingway, Joe Rarick and Rennard Strickland have contributed to the College of Law’s national leadership in these areas,” he said.

Boren said, “This gift will greatly enhance the LL.M program as well as provide an enduring testament to Mr. Turner and to the longtime association between Mr. Turner and Regent Stuart.”

The Stuart Family Foundation gift will provide $1 million to create the John B. Turner LL.M Program Chair, an endowed faculty chair to perpetually attract the best possible LL.M faculty members.  Another $500,000 will be used to create the Stuart Family Foundation LL.M Scholar Fund, which will allow the program to bring in notable guest speakers or to help LL.M students pursue real-world learning opportunities, such as attending relevant national and international conferences.

OU College of Law Dean Joseph Harroz said, “This gift will help the College of Law to recruit top law students and outstanding professors and visiting professors as we work to become one of the most prominent LL.M programs in the country.”

Courses will be taught by senior law professors with expertise in these areas, along with accomplished practitioners who will teach as adjunct professors. The college already offers highly specialized courses in the three subject areas. The program is flexible enough to allow students to specialize in one of these three areas or any combination of the areas. The program also will offer unique interdisciplinary opportunities to LL.M students. Under the proposal, students will be allowed to take select courses relating to the LL.M subject area in other departments within the university.

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