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Dr. David Donohue, JD '71, and wife Pamela.

Donohue Makes Record Gift to BC Law School

By Office of Public Affairs |  

Energy entrepreneur Dr. David A.T. Donohue, a 1971 graduate of Boston College Law School, has pledged $1.5 million to his alma mater, the largest gift in the Law School's history.

The gift endows a junior faculty position in business law, expanding Boston College's already strong focus in that area and making way for the Law School to continue bringing the most promising minds in business law to campus. It also delivers a strong start to the Law School's strategic plan, which will be advanced through gifts raised as part of the University's upcoming capital campaign.

"My legal education has allowed me to live a happy, challenging and rewarding life — and I am still hard at it," said Donohue, who is the founder and president of the International Human Resources Development Corporation (IHRDC), a worldwide leader in training and competency development for the oil and gas industry, and the Arlington Storage Corporation. "This gift responds to a deeper sense of appreciation I wanted to express to BC Law School, its faculty, and its staff.

"Establishing a chair in business is especially appealing because BC students currently have a great interest in this area of focus," added Donohue, who makes his gift with his wife, Pamela. "I personally feel that a career devoted to business can be very rewarding, especially if it involves innovation and entrepreneurship."

A 2006 survey indicated that 43 percent of BC Law's graduates intend to practice in business or finance. Boston College has expanded its business law program in recent years, introducing regular roundtable lunches with prominent alumni in business and convening a Business Advisory Council, of which Donohue is a member.

Donohue is highly regarded for the teaching of management programs devoted to the "business of oil and gas." The IHRDC offers formal instructional programs, consulting and training services and Web-based knowledge and virtual learning systems to the oil, gas and power industry worldwide. Donohue also is the developer and owner of independent underground gas storage facilities in New York State  that provide winter gas service to the Northeast gas markets. 

Donohue's gift starts the Law School's $50 million capital campaign off with a bang. "He made the largest gift in the history of the Law School," says Mike Spatola, assistant dean of capital giving for the Law School. "This will set an example for other similar gifts to come. This gift, and others, will enable our school to hire as many as five new business professors in the next few years."

Donohue says he wanted to inspire his fellow graduates to make similar gifts. "In a sense, it could serve as a turning point in the Law School's campaign," he said. "If I can make this modest commitment I am sure that many other graduates can do it too."

Donohue also had his father, who emphasized the importance of education, in mind when he decided to make his gift. "He was a wonderful man who played a major motivating role in my life," says Donohue. "This commitment is being made in memory of this great man."

In addition to his JD from Boston College Law School, Donohue has a PhD in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

He is active in public affairs, holding elective office in his hometown of Wellesley, Mass., for more than 15 years and serving on the Board of Overseers of BC Law School.