Business Leader Michael Downer '81 Establishes Chair in Corporate Law at Southwestern
Southwestern is proud to announce that under the auspices of the New Era Campaign, alumnus and trustee Michael J. Downer '81, and his wife, Dr. Jessica B. Downer, have created a $1 million endowment to establish the Downer Chair in Corporate Law at Southwestern. This extraordinary leadership gift will help the law school attract top scholars in corporate law who will further strengthen the corporate law curriculum, provide leadership in teaching and research, and establish innovative partnerships with prominent firms, organizations and institutions.
"This new faculty chair is essential to the advancement of Southwestern, especially our JD/MBA program with The Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University," said Dean Austen Parrish. "It will enable Southwestern to offer top scholars in corporate law and practice a place to pursue their research and inspire our students."
A highly respected leader in the investment management industry, Mr. Downer is Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Capital Research and Management Company, which is an investment adviser to the mutual fund giant American Funds. In the greater business community, he is Chair of the Board of ICI Mutual Insurance Company and the California '40 Acts Group, and a past Chair of the Compliance Committee and SEC Rules Committee of the Investment Company Institute. He was named Outstanding Corporate Counsel by the Los Angeles County Bar Association in 2006.
Mr. Downer has maintained a close association with Southwestern, serving since 1999 on the law school's Board of Trustees, where he is Vice Chair. He also chairs the Finance and Audit Committee and established the law school's first unrestricted endowment. He was honored by the Southwestern Alumni Association in 2007 as Alumnus of the Year, and in 2010 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Mr. Downer is also serving as Chair of the New Era Campaign.
As Southwestern begins its second century of educating outstanding lawyers and civic leaders for Los Angeles and beyond, the New Era Campaign is generating major support for endowed scholarship funds and faculty chairs, strengthening academic programs and clinics, and enhancing campus facilities.