Gift To Endow New Professorship At Duke University’s School Of Law

A $2.5 million gift to Duke University from JM Family Enterprises, Inc. will endow a new professorship at Duke Law School in the name of alumnus Colin W. Brown, President Richard H. Brodhead said Wednesday.  The Duke Endowment will provide an additional $1 million in matching gift support through the Duke Law Faculty Endowment Challenge, bringing the total endowment to $3.5 million.  The directors and trustees of JM Family Enterprises authorized the gift honoring Brown, its president and chief executive officer who graduated from Duke Law in 1974. Brown is the first non-family member to hold either title at the family-owned company. “Endowing a professorship enables Duke to invest in exceptional faculty who will help shape conversations on important societal issues as well as challenge and inspire our students,” Brodhead said. “We’re grateful to JM Family Enterprises for this generous gift honoring our distinguished Duke Law alumnus, Colin Brown.”  The gift is the second under the Duke Law Faculty Endowment Challenge, which was funded with a $5 million grant from The Duke Endowment. The challenge, announced last November, provides matching funds for donor commitments toward a new endowed faculty chair, professor of the practice or clinical professor position at the law school. Based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, JM Family Enterprises is a $14.5 billion diversified automotive corporation ranked No. 21 on Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies and has been ranked on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” list for 18 consecutive years. Its principal businesses focus on vehicle distribution and processing; financial services, finance and insurance products; retail sales, marketing and consulting; and dealer technology products and services. Brown joined the company in 1992 as vice president and general counsel and was later appointed chief operating officer. He became president in 2000 and chief executive officer in 2003. In 2011, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper named Brown “Broward County Business Leader of the Year.” In 2015, Florida Trend magazine named him “Floridian of the Year.” “This generous gift by JM Family Enterprises is a great tribute to Colin Brown, who is an exceptionally devoted and admired alumnus of Duke Law School,” said law school Dean David F. Levi. “We are grateful to the company, its board of directors and its trustees for choosing to honor Colin in this special way.”   Prior to JM Family, Brown held general counsel positions at Fuqua Industries, Inc. and Cannon Mills Company. After graduating from Duke Law, he joined the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett law firm in New York. “I am grateful JM Family has honored me in this special way that will benefit Duke Law,” Brown said. “My education started me in my career and my continued affiliation with Duke has always been very meaningful. It’s humbling to know that a new generation of law students will realize their dreams in part because of this professorship.” Brown has supported Duke with his philanthropy for many years. He is a member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors and was honored in 2014 with the Law Alumni Association’s Charles S. Rhyne Award, which recognizes graduates whose careers exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, personal integrity and commitment to education or community service.  All three of Brown’s children are also graduates of Duke: Courtney is a 2007 graduate of the Law School and The Graduate School; Alec is a 2014 master’s graduate of the Nicholas School of the Environment; and Seth is a 2009 graduate of the Pratt School of Engineering who is now pursuing a joint master’s degree at The Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke.  The commitment also advances the university’s $3.25 billion Duke Forward fundraising campaign, which ends in June 2017. It supports priorities across Duke's 10 schools, Duke Medicine and a range of university programs and initiatives. To date, Duke Law has raised more than $100 million in the campaign in support of its faculty, students and programs.  _ _ _ _ For more information about the Duke Law Faculty Endowment Challenge, pleasecontact Kate Buchanan at buchanan@law.duke.edu