The endowed David Boies Professor of Government benefits generations of students
David Boies ’64, who has been described as one of the greatest legal minds of our time, returned to the University of Redlands during Homecoming, delivering an engaging lecture as part of the Ken and Lynn Hall Public Policy Network. He was accompanied by two of his sons, David Boies ’82 and Jonathan Boies ’90, and a grandson, David Boies ’10.
Introduced to the U of R through a high school debate tournament, Boies ’64 recalls that “Redlands was a natural fit.” Unlike many of his classmates, Boies ’64 attended college as a husband and father. After
working for three years and studying at Redlands for two years (during which he completed three years of classwork and the requirements for a U of R degree), Boies ’64 attended Northwestern University Law School through a program that fast-tracked his legal studies.
Now well-known for arguing several high-profile cases in front of the Supreme Court (including those related to the 2000 U.S. presidential election recount and California’s Proposition 8), Boies ’64 says he was strongly influenced by his father, an American history high school instructor. “I either wanted to be a teacher like Dad or a lawyer like Perry Mason,” he recalls, noting his father’s former students would often tell him, “Your father changed my life.”
This experience contributed to Boies’s decision to endow the David Boies Professor of Government, a chair that has been held by the legendary Professor Art Svenson since its inception in 2004. “When you contribute to something worthwhile, particularly in education, there is a general multiplier effect, just like there was with Dad and his students,” says Boies ’64. “The dividends extend beyond anyone who takes Art’s courses to everyone with whom those students come into contact.”
One of those students was grandson Boies ’10, who participated in Svenson’s First-Year Seminar about the U.S. Constitution. “Redlands faculty have an amazing connection with their students,” Boies ’10 notes. “They know everyone within their department.” Other family members echo this sentiment. “I remember attending meetings at professors’ homes,” says Boies ’90. “It was such an intimate way to foster our academic pursuits.”
While studying political science and government during different eras at Redlands, all of the Boies alumni cite this personalized brand of education as key to their success. “What I have accomplished in large measure is due to what I gained at the U of R,” reflects Boies ’64, who received an honorary doctorate from Redlands in 2000. “The teaching experiences epitomize Redlands and what it has to offer its students.”
Experiences outside the traditional classroom were also fundamental to the family’s collective Redlands experience. Boies ’82 recalls a 3-D design class that ignited a lifelong interest in sculpture. “That’s part of the magic at the University,” he says. “Redlands promotes a holistic approach during such formative years that develops your entire life.” His brother, Boies ’90, found life-changing opportunities in a January Term course on Latin American business and trade, where students visited factories and banks in three South American countries. “It changed my entire outlook,” he says.
In a powerful speech delivered during the family’s recent visit, Svenson reflected on the impact of the Boies Professor of Government endowment, noting that receiving this honor was a highlight of his 37-year career. “It made an instantaneous difference,” observes Svenson, who has been named Professor of the Year twice. “This chair permanently exists to promote the study of constitutional law, and professors and students alike will forever have this chair in law in which to make a home. That’s the transcendent value of Boies philanthropy.”