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Historic Gift Brings Rappaport Center to BC Law

Public policy leadership is focus of renowned program.

Photograph by Lee Pellegrini

The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy has moved to Boston College Law School as a result of a $7.53 million gift from the Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation. The gift is the largest in the eighty-five-year history of BC Law and will fund the Rappaport Center and the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Visiting Professorship in Law and Public Policy at BC Law.

The center comprises the long-running Rappaport Fellows Program, which provides twelve paid summer internships to Greater Boston-area law students interested in public service, and the Rappaport Distinguished Public Policy Series, which will conduct scholarly research and host lectures, debates, and roundtable discussions on public policy issues with the region’s leading policymakers and thought leaders.

The center will be led by Professor Michael Cassidy, who has held positions in public service ranging from Chief of the Criminal Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to membership on the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.

“I am thrilled that the Rappaport Foundation has chosen Boston College to be the home for this center, and delighted to be part of the leadership team going forward,” said Cassidy. “Our former dean, Robert Drinan, SJ, was fond of saying that lawyers are the ‘architects of a just society.’ Nowhere in the legal academy is this mission felt more deeply than at Boston College Law School. The Rappaport Center will provide us with the resources and the focus to continue shaping tomorrow’s leaders.”

Last summer, the Rappaport Foundation announced its intention to relocate the center from Suffolk University, where many of its programs had existed for fifteen years, to one of the area law schools from which it has drawn fellows. BC Law School, which has an extensive track record in training public policy leaders locally and nationally, was chosen by the Rappaport Foundation as the school best suited to host the center, which will open this spring.

“There is a critical need for serious discussion and study of law and public policy issues. The center represents an extraordinary opportunity for Boston College and the Rappaport Foundation to work together to elevate our public discourse and to produce thoughtful, ethical, and innovative public servants for the Commonwealth and the nation,” said Dean Vincent Rougeau.

“The move to Boston College,” added center founder Jerome Rappaport, “gives the center a real opportunity to build on the foundation’s successes while partnering with one of the nation’s leading schools of law. We are very excited about this new beginning.”

Caption: A landmark gift from Jerome and Phyllis Rappaport, center, shown here with Dean Vincent Rougeau, left, and Professor Michael Cassidy, has brought a respected public policy center to the Law School.