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The Light the World Campaign

Energy Star

David Donohue ’71, who kicked off the Law School’s capital campaign last fall with a $1.5 million dollar gift, was not always BC Law’s poster child. In fact, he says, he was in “anguish” his first month at school.

Donohue had come in 1968 to BC Law to hone his business skills. He had pulled up roots and quit his engineering position at Penn State. When he arrived at law school, he found it “full of hazy gray areas.” That was tough for Donohue, who as an engineer had learned to see things in black and white. The first week at BC Law, he told a professor, “‘I read this case last night. Here are the facts, here is the law, here is the answer. Why do we have to listen to that guy up front argue with you for fifteen or twenty minutes about nonsense?’”

Donohue still believes the Socratic method is inefficient. But he has come to feel that the education he received at BC Law is worth a great deal—enough to prompt him and his wife Pamela to make one of the largest gifts in the Law School’s history, which will endow a junior faculty position in business law.

By the time Donohue, a native of Montreal, came to Boston College, he had earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD in petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State University. He’d done research for Exxon on heavy oil recovery technology, published papers as he trod toward tenure at Penn, and started a business with his brother building two-family homes. From a young age, he’d known he preferred “work to play”; he loved working his grandfather’s oil wells in Drakewell, Pennsylvania, during the summers. It was difficult for Donohue to give up all his hands-on work and hard-won progress for law school’s theory and intellectual exercises.

To counter his restlessness, and to bring in money, Donohue started IHRDC (International Human Resources Development Corporation), a Boston-based training company for oil industry employees. During his first law school summer, he taught a three-week program in Europe and made $17,000.

After law school, Exxon told Donohue it would hire him as a lawyer—for $11,000 a year, less than he’d made in a summer running his own company. He realized that what he wanted to do with his life was build businesses. He decided to take his engineering background and use it to develop underground gas storage facilities close to the East Coast. His goal: to find a gas field near the end of its life, buy it, convert it into a facility, and deliver gas through local pipelines during the heating season.

As an engineer, Donohue knew how to find a gas field and build a pipeline. The rest of what he had to do—regulatory issues, contracts, tax issues, human resources—was new to him. And yet, he says, “All of that came together clearly in my mind.” That clarity, he believes, is the fruit of his BC education.

Donohue’s first facility, in New York, is still in operation; he has built two more as part of Arlington Storage Company, and the sale of one paid for his gift to the Law School. IHRDC, too, is still going strong. Donohue pushes hands-on learning, often asking teams of oil and gas industry professionals to simulate the decisions they’d face in running an energy business.

Donohue’s love of learning predates law school and his other higher ed experiences. His father, a dentist, had attended Loyola College, and throughout his life, the elder Donohue stayed loyal to the Jesuit teachers he’d had there, treating them for free as patients and inviting them to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Donohue’s father exhorted him to go to a Jesuit institution, and was pleased when he chose to attend BC Law. Donohue had his father’s devotion in mind when he made his gift to BC Law. “My father was just a really great person, a leader, extremely friendly and generous,” he says.

Echoing those traits he loved in his father, Donohue has developed an interest in the developing world, where he plans to teach people in remote locations to create alternative energy. That idea, that business-building can improve lives, is at the heart of his gift. Innovation and entrepreneurship have given Donohue “a very full and a very happy life,” he says. He wants another generation of students—at BC Law, in energy companies, or in the developing world—to feel the same satisfaction.

-—Sarah Auerbach

Insuring the Future


In November, Boston College Law School announced a $3.1 million gift from Liberty Mutual Group to establish the Liberty Mutual Insurance Professorship in property and casualty insurance law. The gift, to be paid over the next four years, represents the largest in the seventy-nine-year history of the Law School, and will be used to hire a distinguished teacher and legal scholar with expertise in the field of property and casualty insurance.

Dean John H. Garvey said that Liberty Mutual’s pledge consists of $3 million to endow the Liberty Mutual Insurance Professorship, and $100,000 to endow the Liberty Mutual Prize, an annual monetary reward for the best article published in a law review on property and casualty insurance law, regulation or governance.

“We are grateful to Liberty Mutual for its generosity in establishing this professorship and writing prize at Boston College,” said Garvey. “The professorship will allow the Law School to attract one of the nation’s top teachers and scholars to direct our affairs in the area of insurance law. The prize will allow us to draw attention to research in the field, and it will make Boston College’s name synonymous with the best academic thinking about insurance.”

Liberty Mutual Chairman, President, and CEO Edmund F. Kelly said that through the professorship and writing prize, Liberty Mutual is taking a leadership position to improve understanding of the property and casualty industry and the vital role it plays in society, particularly in enhancing the financial security of the middle class.

“By establishing the Liberty Mutual Professorship, we hope to foster a better understanding within the legal community of the critical role property and casualty insurance plays in the broader economy,” said Kelly. “Liberty Mutual’s partnership with Boston College makes sense given our mutual histories as venerable institutions with Boston roots dating back tens of decades.”

Liberty Mutual Group’s General Counsel Christopher Mansfield added, “We are particularly pleased to be partnering with BC Law. Well-educated and principled legal advocates benefit our industry as well as our society.” Mansfield, a 1975 graduate of BC Law School, oversees Liberty Mutual’s 800-lawyer legal department.


Five Law School alumni have taken advantage of a matching grant program to increase the value of their gifts to BC Law by 25 percent. They are among sixty Boston College donors whose pledge of $200,000 over a period of up to three years has qualified them for a $50,000 match through a program created by a $5 million gift from an anonymous University donor. The challenge gift has been divided into 100 increments of $50,000 each.

The Law School challenge grant donors, four of whom are members of the BC Law Board of Overseers and Business Advisory Council, are:

Chris Mansfield ’75 and his wife Laura. In addition to the couple’s individual gift, Mansfield, who is general counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, was instrumental in securing his company’s $3.1 million commitment to BC Law to fund a professorship and a writing prize in insurance law (see story above).

Joe Vanek ’87. He is a named partner in the Chicago firm of Vanek, Vickers, and Masini and concentrates his practice in the area of Intellectual Property. Also an entrepreneur, he has developed companies that produce inspirational/motivational literature and voting machines for the disabled. Vanek leads the Board of Overseers’ Career Partnership Program, which secures paid internships at medium-sized firms for students who are not yet employed at graduation.

Jeanne Picerne ’92. The executive vice president of Picerne Real Estate Group, a family-owned national real estate development firm, Picerne spoke inspirationally about her challenge grant commitment at the Law School’s Light the World campaign kickoff in October.

Ray Mancini A&S ’60. This is the third endowed scholarship at BC from Mancini, who is president of Rhode Island Distributing Co., a beverage distributor.

The fifth challenge grant donor prefers to remain anonymous.




At a gala kickoff dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel October 24, the Law School officially launched its first-ever capital campaign. The effort will raise $50 million by 2015 to strengthen faculty, assist students, and build new programs.

Some 300 alumni, faculty, and friends attended the campaign dinner. The event featured a slide show of historic photographs of the Law School community and a video of interviews with accomplished alumni and students. Board of Overseers chair David Weinstein ’75 was the master of ceremonies. Donors David Donohue ’71 and Jeanne Picerne ’92 spoke of their recent gifts to the Law School—Donohue about his $1.5 million endowed professorship and Picerne about her $200,000 scholarship that attracted a $50,000 match.

A highlight of the evening was the surprise announcement by Christopher Mansfield ’75, general counsel of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, that his company had pledged $3.1 million to establish a professorship in property and casualty insurance law and an annual scholarship for the best law review article related to the field.

To view the video shown or pictures taken at the launch party, go to law/alumni.