Generous gift allows for transformation of UA School of Law


The University of Akron’s C. Blake McDowell Law Center will become a premier learning environment for law students thanks in part to a $2 million bequest from Mrs. Beatrice Knapp McDowell. The Law Center will undergo a total renovation beginning in December 2015.

New additions include a state-of-the-art moot court room, a jury deliberation room, two large interactive lecture halls, and vastly improved student collaboration and study areas.  The cutting-edge addition will facilitate classes, forums, public events, and experiential learning opportunities. Judges will even be able to hold sessions of court in the cutting-edge addition, making the UA School of Law an innovative environment for experiential learning for law students.

Construction will streamline the total footprint of the law school facilities, and will take place on a rolling basis. Estimates suggest that the total time of the overhaul will be about 16-18 months. However, students need not fear an interruption in their education; classes will be held in neighboring buildings for the Spring and Summer 2016 semesters.

A generous bequest

“Beatrice McDowell’s generous bequest has allowed us to expedite the renovation process, enabling us to offer a better learning environment and help us attract students to the UA School of Law,” says UA President Scott Scarborough. “Student success remains the university’s highest priority and Mrs. McDowell’s generosity helps us to continue to improve the resources and facilities that we are able to offer our law students.”

Matthew Wilson, dean of the UA School of Law, praises the benefits of a facelift for the Law Center.

“While the existing C. Blake McDowell Law Center has served us well for decades, it is now in great need of a renovation. We are in the midst of a very competitive market for legal education. Other law schools have recently renovated or reconstructed their buildings; doing the same without borrowing any funds for construction will allow us to compete with these other schools on yet another level.” 

The McDowell Family has gifted more than $5.1 million to the university. The family’s involvement with the UA School of Law dates back nearly 40 years, with donations supporting five distinguished professorships and numerous academic scholarships for students.

Peggy Lloyd, Bea McDowell’s daughter, is also delighted with the bequest.

“Our family is pleased with my mother’s gift to the UA School of Law. My mother cared deeply about her community and the university. She would have loved nothing more than to see it continue to grow, flourish and nurture Akron’s future leaders.”

Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or

Mrs. Beatrice Knapp McDowell

Mrs. Beatrice Knapp McDowell

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