UH Law Center Receives Major Gift to Support New Building

Facility to Be Named After Late Lawyer John M. O’Quinn in Recognition of His Foundation’s Contribution

John M. O'Quinn Law Building
John M. O'Quinn Law Building (conceptual rendering)
Courtroom (conceptual rendering)
John M. O'Quinn
John M. O'Quinn (1941-2009)

The University of Houston has received a significant gift from The John M. O’Quinn Foundation to support the UH Law Center and construction of its new state-of-the-art building. In permanent recognition of the gift, the building will be named the "John M. O'Quinn Law Building."

An accomplished attorney and philanthropist, the late John M. O’Quinn was a UH Law Center alumnus and one of the university’s most enthusiastic supporters. The foundation bearing his name has donated more than $16 million to the UH Law Center, a significant portion of which supports the construction of the law building.

“John would be incredibly proud to know that his name was on the building of this dynamic law school where he started his journey in the legal profession. John often talked about how the Law Center was best at preparing him and others for the real world of law and how he envisioned a state-of-the-art facility for the law school.  I know he is smiling from above today,” said Rob C. Wilson III, president of The John M. O’Quinn Foundation.

The new John M. O’Quinn Law Building will reside in the northeast corner of campus between University Lofts and the current law center facility. The $90 million facility is designed to enhance the educational experience while also serving as a hub to engage and serve the public, providing opportunities for greater interaction on the local, national and international level. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2020 and fundraising efforts continue.

“John O’Quinn was an exceptionally talented lawyer and a very passionate alum. During our several conversations, he expressed his commitment to raising the rankings of the Law Center by building a new home for it,” said Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston. “He had already been a generous donor to both the Law Center and UH Athletics and today, it gives me special joy to know that the new law building will carry his name.

Established in 1947, the UH Law Center is home to three top 10 law programs according to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings and it has produced more than 16,000 alumni worldwide. However, the condition of its current building complex, with more than half of it underground, exposes operational space to recurring water damage during heavy rainfall.

“John M. O’Quinn arose from humble beginnings, and through the power of his UH legal education, he became one of the nation’s top trial lawyers winning more than $21 billion for his clients. During his life, he routinely gave back to the Houston community by supporting education, hospitals, and programs that enrich the lives of underserved communities. Having his name permanently on our new building will inspire our students that they too can overcome their life circumstances, be outstanding trial lawyers and give back to their communities,” said Leonard M. Baynes, dean of the UH Law Center.

O’Quinn is one of UH’s most generous financial benefactors and the law building will be the latest on campus to bear his name. O’Quinn’s legacy currently lives on through the O’Quinn Law Library, John M. O’Quinn Field at TDECU Stadium and the O’Quinn Great Hall at the UH Alumni Center. In 2018, the foundation provided a $3.5 million grant to the new UH College of Medicine for scholarships and startup costs.

This latest gift is part of the“Here, We Go” Campaign, the University of Houston’s first major systemwide fundraising campaign in more than 25 years. The University has raised more than $1 billion to address key priorities, including scholarships, faculty support and strengthening the university’s partnership with Houston, and momentum continues as UH moves beyond its original billion dollar goal.

“It cannot be overstated the impact that John M. O’Quinn and his foundation have had on the growth and success of the University of Houston,” said Eloise Brice, UH vice president for university advancement. “His steadfast commitment to the Law Center and advancing its mission of academic excellence will resonate for many years to come.”