MISSOULA – A campus celebration to officially rename the University of Montana law school will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in the law building’s Garlington, Lohn & Robinson Plaza.
Montana’s law school is now known as the Alexander Blewett III School of Law. The state Board of Regents approved the new name in May after the University received a $10 million gift to the law school from Alexander “Zander” and Andrea “Andy” Blewett of Great Falls.
The renaming ceremony will include remarks by UM President Royce Engstrom, law school Dean Paul Kirgis and Zander Blewett, a 1971 graduate of the school. The national president of the American Bar Association, Paulette Brown, also will attend. Brown has been in Missoula in conjunction with the annual meeting of the State Bar of Montana. She met with UM law students on Thursday, Sept. 10.
The Blewett gift allows the law school to create an endowed chair in consumer law and protection, with endowed support for programs in consumer protection and access to justice. It also provides $1.5 million for the Access to Legal Education Scholarship Fund and creates an endowed discretionary fund for general law school support.
The scholarship is structured as a giving challenge. Qualifying gifts that other supporters put toward law scholarships will be matched with an equal contribution to the Access to Legal Education Scholarship Fund, up to a total of $1.5 million. If the challenge is met, new scholarship donations will total $3 million. The UM Foundation will manage the endowed funds to provide ongoing value to the School of Law and its students.
The Blewett gift nearly doubles the size of the law school’s endowment, raising it to more than $21 million.
The Blewett family has a longstanding relationship with Montana’s law school. Blewett’s father, Alexander Blewett Jr., graduated from the institution in 1938, and Zander and Andy’s sons, Anders and Drew, graduated from the school in 2007.
Zander Blewett learned the value of education from his father, who was born in Butte in 1913. His father earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from UM before moving to Great Falls, where he raised a family with his wife, Fern.
Today, Zander and his sons practice law at Hoyt & Blewett, one of Montana’s pre-eminent law firms. Zander is the managing partner and one of the top trial lawyers in the nation. He is the only Montana lawyer admitted to the Inner Circle of Advocates, an association limited to 100 litigators in the United States. He was the only Montana lawyer to be admitted to the 100 Mountain States Super Lawyers of 2012. Zander also has been the Montana Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year twice.