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A Policy Visionary

Jerome Lyle Rappaport, Philanthropist.

Jerome and Phyllis Rappaport in 2015 with then-Dean Vincent Rougeau, left, and Professor Michael Cassidy, right.  Photograph by Lee Pellegrini

During his long career as a developer, civic leader, and policy guru, Jerome Lyle Rappaport made an indelible mark not only on Massachusetts but also on Boston College Law School. In 2015, the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation gave $7.53 million to support the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy upon its move to BC Law from Suffolk University.

In the years that have followed, the Law School has become a veritable fortress of policy debate and distinction with an extensive series of speakers, panels of top experts, and a roster of distinguished visiting professors. The Senior Fellows program has been populated by up-and-coming leaders in civil rights, public rights, urban planning, and legal defense; Boston’s new mayor, Michelle Wu, is among them.

“Jerry Rappaport was a visionary leader. He led by example, in a way that raised others up and enriched his community,” said Interim Dean Diane Ring upon learning of his passing in December. She described the Rappaport Center as a central part of the Law School’s programming and expressed gratitude for the additional opportunities it has given to students.

Furthermore, said the center’s executive director, Elisabeth “Lissy” Medvedow, he has “encouraged law students, graduate students, and hundreds of public-service-minded individuals to become ‘emerging leaders’ to create positive change for communities. He inspired all of us to do better for the world around us.”