“Justice for Animals,” A historic Endowed Chair of Animal Law

by Office of Development

In an effort to represent “voiceless and anonymous non-human animals,” a USF alumna has donated $6.1 million to the School of Law to establish the “Justice for Animals” Endowed Animal Law Chair.

This gift represents the single largest non-bequest endowed chair in the university’s history.

“More than ever before, legal battles are being fought against cruelty to animals at local, state, and federal levels,” said the donor.

A graduate of the School of Management, MBA class of 1981, who has contributed to other USF initiatives such as Jesuits Among Us, and the LoSchiavo science center, the donor wishes to remain anonymous in solidarity with the animals, and to place them in the limelight.

“By becoming a leader in animal law, the University of San Francisco can influence future lawyers and make great strides toward improving the well-being of animals,” said the donor.

A Life’s Mission

Since the age of nine, the donor’s life’s mission has been to stand up for animals; to mitigate cruelty and indifference toward them through education, advocacy, and direct action.

“For USF to join a small number of law schools in the nation that offer an animal law curriculum is very exciting. This is a gift many schools only dream of receiving and never do,” said Isabel, JD ’20.

An Emerging Field

The treatment of animals under the law leads to important insights for property law, tort law, and constitutional law, and directly impacts the use of animals in research, factory farming, cruelty to animals, and wildlife protection.

“This incredible gift allows the law school to establish a significant presence in a growing field of wide-reaching impact,” said Susan Freiwald, Dean for the School of Law, “I am so grateful to our visionary donor, whose vote of confidence in the law school will accelerate the momentum we have established over the past year.”

The Right Place for Change

“As a leading university in a city known for innovation and breaking free from traditional thinking, USF and its students are in a powerful position to shape the future,” the donor said. “This brings a responsibility to encourage ethical decisions, in the area of animal interests. I have complete faith in Dean Freiwald to create an outstanding program and Chair.”

The law school has begun a nation-wide search to fill the Animal Law Chair with an individual who is passionate about further developing the field and who has made contributions to advance legal scholarship in animal law.

“The new program extends the law school’s mission to educate skilled, ethical lawyers who advance the cause of justice,” said Dean Freiwald.

The new Chair in Animal Law is expected to join the School of Law faculty in fall 2020.

To learn more about supporting the USF School of Law, contact Michelle Sklar, Assistant Dean, Development and External Relations for the School of Law, at (415) 422- 2551 or

This gift was made in support of Changing the World from Here: Campaign for the University of San Francisco.