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Northwestern Law Receives $10 Million Gift From Alumnus

J. Landis Martin gives $10 million to fund strategies to improve legal education

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July 23, 2013 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

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J. Landis "Lanny" and Sharon Martin

CHICAGO --- Alumnus J. Landis “Lanny” Martin and his wife, Sharon, have given Northwestern University School of Law $10 million to help implement innovative strategies for improving legal education and enhancing the student experience.

“We are deeply grateful for Lanny’s longtime generosity, support and counsel,” said Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean and Harold Washington Professor at the School of Law. 

“Lanny is an outstanding leader in law and industry, and his experiences exemplify the eclectic, entrepreneurial careers that our law school prepares our students to undertake,” he said. 

A Northwestern University trustee, Martin received his B.S. in business from Northwestern in 1968 and his J.D. from the School of Law in 1973. While at the law school, he served as an editor of the Northwestern University Law Review. 

Martin has been a significant donor to Northwestern for more than 30 years, having made his first contribution -- a gift of $50 -- to the School of Law’s annual fund in 1975.

The Martins’ unrestricted $10 million gift will go a long way in helping the law school improve its already stellar academic reputation, with bold initiatives to enrich opportunities and prepare students to become leaders in the profession throughout their careers.

“Lanny and Sharon are great friends, and their generosity and support have benefited Northwestern in so many ways,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “Their latest gift will be critically important in advancing the law school.”

In January, Northwestern announced that the Martins have committed $15 million to support the University’s campaign for athletics and recreation.

Sharon Martin earned her B.A. from Denison University, where she served for a decade as a trustee. Sharon has been a leader in the Denver arts community for more than 30 years. She and Lanny Martin have three children (Mary Lester; Sarah Stettner, who received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern in 2002 and a J.D. from the School of Law in 2007; and Emily Martin, who received degrees from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2008 and 2011) and four grandchildren.   

After a successful tenure as a law firm associate and then partner and member of the executive and firm committees at Kirkland & Ellis, Lanny Martin has led numerous companies that span multiple industries.

He is founder and managing director of Platte River Equity, a private equity investment firm in Denver focused on small- and middle-market operating companies. He founded the firm in 2005 after spending more than 18 years as CEO of a number of different industrial, chemical and metals companies.

Martin was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2012.

From 1989 to 2005, prior to launching Platte River Equity, he was chairman and CEO of Titanium Metals Corporation, the world’s largest supplier of titanium used in aerospace and other industrial applications. From 1987 to 2003, he was CEO and president of NL Industries, Inc., a specialty chemical producer with operations in the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Germany and Norway.

He serves as lead director of Halliburton Company, and as a founding director and chairman of the board of Crown Castle International Corp., a leading independent owner and operator of wireless communication sites. He also is a member of the board and lead director of Apartment Investment Management Company, one of the largest owners, operators and managers of apartments in the U.S., as well as lead director of Denver-based Intrepid Potash Inc. 

“Lanny has been one of Northwestern Law’s closest and most loyal friends,” Dean Rodriguez said. “I treasure him as an ally to our ambitious endeavors and rely on him for his candid counsel and encouragement.”

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