SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 11, 2014 — A veteran Silicon Valley tech-company founder and technology pioneer has donated $10 million in matching and direct funds to Santa Clara University School of Law to fund a new technologically advanced, collaboration-oriented law school building.
The donation is the gift of Cisco Senior Vice President Howard Charney, a Santa Clara University trustee, 1977 J.D. and 1973 MBA alumnus, and his wife of 34 years, Alida Schoolmaster Charney. The funds will help form the foundation for a new law school building, which will replace three current facilities and be housed near the business school to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration.
Half of the gift comes in the form of a donation and half is a matching gift to support additional fundraising.
Charney said he was motivated to donate to the law school to preserve and advance its vital role at the University, and because he has witnessed firsthand how imperative it is for business, engineering, and other leaders to grasp the overarching role of the law in their endeavors. He said it is important to him to give back to people and organizations like Santa Clara University that helped shape him and contributed to his success.
“Santa Clara University is in the process of redefining itself,” said Charney. “I hope this gift will create momentum and help to shape what the University will look like for the next several decades.”
“We are extremely gratified for the Charneys’ generous gift and the trust and optimism for the future of Santa Clara Law that it expresses,” said Lisa Kloppenberg, dean of the law school. “He is a quintessential Santa Clara alumnus: an engineer, entrepreneur, and lawyer who leads and is at the forefront of fostering world-changing innovation in the most exciting and entrepreneurial region of the world.”
Charney has been a longtime adviser to the University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, funding a professorship there, serving on the advisory board, and recently joining the executive committee.
“On behalf of Santa Clara University, I am very thankful to the Charneys for this generous gift and the sustained support we have received from them over the years,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “They have contributed to a vision and future for the law school that will produce ever more leaders in multiple disciplines and professions.”
A licensed patent attorney, Charney has served as a board member for several technology companies. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and master’s of business administration and juris doctor degrees from Santa Clara University.
Mr. Charney’s son, Tristan, is a 2006 MBA alumnus from Santa Clara.
Charney co-founded the $3 billion company 3Com as well as Grand Junction Networks, which was acquired by Cisco in 1995. He currently is senior vice president in the Office of the President and CEO at Cisco, contributing to Cisco”s strategy and direction and also advising businesses, governments, and educators around the world in implementing critical Internet technologies to improve organizational effectiveness.
Over his career Charney has overseen the development and expansion of key technologies that have helped build the global Internet as it exists today. He helped grow Cisco’s two-tier distribution business to more than $2.4 billion and helped turn fast ethernet and low-cost switching into fundamental, global Internet technologies. At 3Com, he helped create products that would later become ethernet and local area networking, enabling Internet access to the desktop.
He said law school taught him that a system of laws underpins all great business creations.
“Attending Santa Clara Law was really pivotal to making me who I am—the law gelled it all together for me,” said Charney. “I learned that the law is a set of valuable, lofty practices and behaviors that guide how people interact.”
“It is important to the Charney family that Santa Clara University continues to provide future generations with the best education possible,” said Mrs. Charney.
Update: A video highlighting Howard Charney’s experience at Santa Clara University and Santa Clara Law has been recently uploaded. Watch the video.
Join the Charney Challenge
With the generous gift from Howard & Alida Charney, we have launched the Charney Challenge to inspire additional gifts for the law school building project fund from alumni, donors and friends of Santa Clara Law. Donations and pledges to the fund will be matched by the Charney Challenge in anticipation of breaking ground on the building project next summer.
About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see law.scu.edu.