Introducing the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana
How a $10 million gift is transforming legal education at the University of Montana
On Friday, May 22, the University of Montana School of Law officially became the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana thanks to a $10 million donation from Alexander “Zander” JD ’71 and Andrea “Andy” Blewett of Great Falls, Montana.
The gift is among the largest individual gifts in UM history and will nearly double the size of the law school’s endowment, raising it to over $21 million.
“Through their wonderful generosity, Zander and Andy Blewett have transformed our law school, ensuring excellence in legal education for decades to come,” UM President Royce Engstrom said.
- An endowed chair in consumer law and protection
- An endowed fund to support research and programs in consumer law and protection
- The Access to Legal Education Scholarship Fund
- The Law School Dean's Discretionary Fund
“I received an outstanding legal education at UM Law, as did my father and two sons,” Zander Blewett said. “We love the law school and wanted to do something to ensure that future generations have that same opportunity.”
The school will strengthen its consumer law and protection program by creating an endowed chair and providing endowed programmatic support in that area. Interim Dean Greg Munro calls the program “unique in the nation,” giving UM yet another edge over regional competition. This will be the University’s third fully-funded endowed chair. Two others – the Craighead Chair and the Boone and Crocket Chair – are located in the Wildlife Biology program.
In addition, the Blewetts will provide up to $1.5 million for scholarships. Their gift is structured as a giving challenge: for every donation of $500 and above toward any law scholarship, the Blewetts will match with an equal contribution to the Access to Legal Education Scholarship Fund, up to $1.5 million total. New scholarship donations will total $3 million with the matching gift.
“At a time when student debt is increasing nationwide, Zander and Andy are putting law school within reach of more students,” said Dean Munro.
The Blewetts will also provide support for a fund, administered by the law school’s dean, which meets needs as they arise. This discretionary fund is crucial to supporting faculty research, student internships and a variety of school programs.
“Our family believes deeply in the value of public education, the importance of it to Montana and the necessity that we all give back in a way that is meaningful to each of us – whether that’s $50, as was my first gift to the law school, or something more,” said Blewett.
Zander Blewett learned the importance of education from his father, Alexander Blewett Jr., who was born in Butte in 1913. Blewett Jr. earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from UM before moving to Great Falls, where he raised a family with his wife, Fern.
Zander graduated from MSU and then earned a law degree from UM in 1971. His and Andy’s sons, Anders and Drew, graduated from the School of Law in 2007.
Today, he and his sons practice law at Hoyt & Blewett, one of the Big Sky’s pre-eminent law firms. Blewett is the managing partner and one of the nation’s top trial lawyers.
“Zander and Andy Blewett have been great friends to the law school for many years, and it is wonderful to see them make such a significant contribution to the school and to the legal profession in an area that is so important to Montana,” said Ed Eck, former law school dean and current head of the Office of Consumer Protection for Attorney General Tim Fox.
A celebration of the Blewetts’ donation and an unveiling of new signage on the building will take place in September in conjunction with the State Bar of Montana Annual Meeting.