Philanthropist and educator Charles R. Williams on Tuesday agreed to donate an additional $4 million to the UCLA School of Law to support the Charles R. Williams Project on Sexual Orientation Law. The project is a national think tank dedicated to advancing critical thought in the field of sexual orientation law and public policy. "Chuck Williams is a man of extraordinary vision, and his generosity is truly exceptional," says Norman Abrams, interim dean of the UCLA School of Law. "This new gift makes him by far the largest donor cumulatively in the history of the UCLA School of Law."
According to the school, Williams is the largest donor to any GLBT academic program in the country. Previously, he pledged $3 million to found and support the Williams Project. The new $4 million gift will create two Williams Project programs, the Williams Fellowship and the Visiting Scholars program. The UCLA School of Law is planning to raise an additional $500,000 to fully fund the Williams Fellowship, which will train new law teachers and scholars who work in the field of sexual orientation law and public policy. The first fellow will be selected this year and will begin his or her fellowship in the fall of 2004. The Visiting Scholars program, which starts in fall 2006, will allow a distinguished law professor to visit the project to teach and conduct research for one semester. "These two new programs will firmly establish the Williams Project as a national center for the study of sexual orientation law and public policy," said Brad Sears, director of the Williams Project. "The additional faculty will create a critical mass of researchers and scholars working on these issues."
"Think tanks opposed to the rights of lesbians and gay men have existed for decades." Williams said. "I want to challenge other donors with this gift and inspire them to help in creating this important resource. It is critical that there be a think tank based in an academic institution that objectively analyzes issues of sexual orientation law and public policy."