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Gift Honors Chabraja, Supports Law and Business Professorship

Bernard Black Named Nicholas J. Chabraja Professor

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October 23, 2009 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel
CHICAGO --- Northwestern University School of Law and the University's Kellogg School of Management received a $3 million gift from General Dynamics Corporation to support a special law and business professorship named after its retired chief executive officer and Northwestern alumnus Nicholas D. Chabraja.

The first of its type, the Nicholas D. Chabraja Professorship dually supports the School of Law and Kellogg, symbolizing the increasingly integrated fields of business and law.

Bernard Black, a nationally recognized expert in corporate law and finance and health care regulation, will be the inaugural holder of the professorship.

"The Nicholas D. Chabraja Professorship solidifies the strong relationship between Northwestern Law and Kellogg and our concerted efforts to prepare students for careers in which these two disciplines converge," said David Van Zandt, dean, Northwestern University School of Law.

The donation will also provide support for the University's JD-MBA program, the largest and most integrated joint law and business program in the world. The program was first to introduce a three-year, rather than four-year, course of study.

"Northwestern's JD-MBA program truly is at the cutting edge," said Sunil Chopra, interim dean, Kellogg School of Management. "Gifts of this nature allow us to continue on our innovative path, and we are very grateful for General Dynamics' generosity."

Chabraja remains as non-executive chairman of the board of General Dynamics since his retirement in June. He was the longest-serving chief executive among the nation's top five defense contractors.

Chabraja also held other top-level positions at General Dynamics, which specializes in aerospace, combat systems, marine systems, and information systems and technology.  He was vice chairman of General Dynamics (1996-97), executive vice president (1994-96) and senior vice president and general counsel (1993-94).

Before his career at General Dynamics, Chabraja was a litigation partner at the law firm of Jenner & Block for 22 years.  In 1986, he was appointed special trial counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives in regard to the impeachment trial of Judge Harry Claiborne before the U.S. Senate, the first impeachment trial in 50 years.

Chabraja, a 1967 graduate of the School of Law, a 1964 alumnus of Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees, has been a consistent supporter of the School of Law.

Black will join the University in September 2010, as the first Nicholas D. Chabraja Professor, with an appointment at Northwestern Law and in Kellogg's finance department.  He currently holds the Hayden W. Head Regents Chair for Faculty Excellence at the University of Texas School of Law and is a professor of finance at the McCombs School of Business.  He also is co-director of the Center of Law, Business and Economics at the University of Texas.

Previously, Black was the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford, a law professor at Columbia Law School, counsel to a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, an attorney at Skadden Arps in New York and a clerk for Judge Patricia Wald, who served for 20 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Black also has served as a policy advisor to the U.S. government as well as to several countries throughout the world, including Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, South Korea, Mongolia and Vietnam.  He has authored or co-authored numerous books and scholarly articles.