Law school alumni give $6.5 million to support scholarships, legal clinics at DePaul

Gifts include the university’s largest ever to scholarships

At the request of noted pharmaceutical executive, philanthropist and DePaul University law alumnus Michael Jaharis, the Jaharis Family Foundation Inc. has made a $5 million gift to endow scholarships in the university’s College of Law.

The gift — the largest single gift to scholarships in the university’s 112-year history — comes on the heels of a $1 million gift from alumnus and life trustee John W. Martin Jr. to endow the school’s legal clinics, and a $500,000 gift to endow scholarships from alumnus Larry Rogers Sr., founding partner of the Chicago law firm Power Rogers & Smith.

“Each of these very generous gifts will enable students to realize dreams that otherwise they might not be able to attain,” says the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University. “We are grateful for the commitment that these alumni have for DePaul’s mission of providing its unique, world-class legal education to talented students.”

Michael Jaharis
Mr. Jaharis, a Chicago native and son of Greek immigrants, served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War and later attended night school at DePaul University, receiving his law degree there in 1958. After a short stint in private practice, he joined Miles Laboratories as legal counsel and eventually became vice president and general counsel of the pharmaceutical company’s Ethical Drug Division. He had worked for Miles as a salesman while attending DePaul.

In 1972, Mr. Jaharis and a partner acquired Key Pharmaceuticals and turned the tiny producer of cough and cold remedies into a powerhouse with newly developed top-selling asthma and cardiovascular drugs. Under his leadership, Key’s sales increased 100-fold before the company’s $836 million merger with Schering-Plough in 1986.

Two years later Mr. Jaharis launched Kos Pharmaceuticals, which dominated the market with its cholesterol-lowering drug Niaspan before being sold to Abbott Labs in 2006 for $4.2 billion.

Today, he is founder and director of Arisaph Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held drug/bio-tech discovery and design company, and a founder of Vatera Capital LLC, a private investment firm focusing on the healthcare industry.

Mr. Jaharis gave the gift as a challenge to encourage other College of Law alumni to give back to the university.

“I feel that my studies at DePaul are what really got me started,” he says. “It is particularly important to me and my family to give back to an institution which truly inspired me and may help open doors for young people who wish to advance their education.”

Mr. Jaharis has served as the lay head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States for the past 10 years. A generous philanthropist throughout his career, he and the Jaharis Family Foundation continue to support higher education, arts and religious organizations.

John W. Martin Jr.
John W. Martin Jr. graduated from DePaul’s College of Law in 1961. In 1970, after the better part of a decade with the U.S. Department of Justice and a private New York firm, he joined Ford Motor Co., serving as vice president and general counsel for 10 years before his retirement in 1999.

While at Ford he received the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award (1990) and in 1997 was named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal.

In retirement, Mr. Martin continues to provide pro bono legal services to a number of organizations, most recently as an immigration lawyer with Gulfcoast Legal Services, a nonprofit in Sarasota, Fla., where he lives nine months of the year.

“Lawyers have a special obligation to serve the poor, especially in a society as complex and difficult to navigate as ours,” he says. “Clinic work should be an integral part of a lawyer’s training.”

DePaul’s College of Law has nine pro bono legal clinics. Each semester some 70 qualified second- and third-year students provide legal support in more than 100 civil and criminal cases brought by indigent clients.

Larry Rogers Sr.
Attorney Larry Roger Sr. received his law degree from DePaul in 1983 and quickly earned a reputation as a personal injury lawyer to be reckoned with. In 1985, in his first Cook County trial, he won a $27 million judgment in a product liability case – the largest in Illinois history at the time. Since then he has won numerous multimillion-dollar judgments for clients, including a recent $55 million award in a medical malpractice case, the state’s largest judgment for a malpractice case in the past decade.

During his career, Mr. Rogers has served as president of the Cook County Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, where he was the first African-American to ever hold the post.

He has garnered many awards, including the Richard E. Westbrook Award for legal excellence from the Cook County Bar Association and was named one of the country’s top 10 litigators by National Law Journal in 1999.

Mr. Rogers, who earned his law degree at night while working full time as a respiratory therapist, says that the most important accomplishment of his career has been mentoring young lawyers, many of them African-American.

“Institutions such as DePaul have helped lead the way in opening up the legal profession to a diverse cross section of people—minorities, women and others who have been notoriously underserved in the past,” he says. “There’s still work to do, and that’s why scholarships such as the one I’ve established are important, because economic barriers still remain.”

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