Duke Law School Alumnus Donates Over $5 Million to Constitutional and Public Law Program

Duke Law School received a $5.46 million gift from Law School ’78 alumnus Rick Horvitz to support the ongoing endowment of its nationally acclaimed public law program in May.

As one of the nation’s preeminent centers for constitutional and public law, the program boasts a distinguished array of faculty and students. For decades, the program has transported top scholars to Duke Law classrooms, engaged students with compelling primary source material, and equipped them with internships and career-enhancing opportunities.

The program was recently renamed the Richard A. Horvitz Program in Constitutional and Public Law, after the family that has run the program since 1998.

Pamela B. Gann, former dean of Duke Law School, was instrumental in Horvitz’s decision to support the program. With Gann’s encouragement and a passion for constitutional law studies, he began donating to the program around the turn of the century. Horvitz also worked closely with two other former deans, Katharine T. Bartlett, A. Kenneth Pye Professor Emeritus of Law, and David F. Levi, Levi Family Law Research Professor, to launch the program.

Since 1998, the Horvitzes have donated more than $10.4 million to the public law program and more than $15 million to the law school more broadly, according to the release.

“I’m not a practicing lawyer, but I always thought constitutional law was one of the hallmarks of American society,” Horvitz said.

Under Horvitz’s leadership, the program hosted Supreme Court justices to discuss their careers with students, covered room and board costs for students doing unpaid summer internships, and sent four corps members professor to serve on the Presidential Commission of the Supreme Court in 2021.

One of Horvitz’s primary goals in endowing the program is to ensure that Duke Law remains a forerunner among other institutions, particularly in its teaching of constitutional and public law.

Since the program’s inception, Horvitz has strived to maintain four main pillars of its mission: attracting and supporting outstanding student faculty members, promoting and fostering “excellence in legal scholarship”, providing lectures and educational programs that engage students and impress students with the central role of public law in the contemporary American system of government.

As a student, Horvtiz’s lectures on First Amendment law left a strong impression on him. He began his career at a law firm specializing in First Amendment cases and is now chairman of the private investment firm Moreland Management Co.

“I really enjoyed, in particular, constitutional law, because to some extent, while a lot of law schools involve a professional type of education, constitutional law is really more of a… ambitious thing than a sort of professional thing, and I always just found it fascinating,” Horvitz said.

Horvitz will actively monitor the program’s progress, seek periodic administrative reports on its operations and expenditures, and is open to the prospect of increasing its sources of funding as needed. He hopes the program will serve as a model of “robust critical inquiry.”

“We are very committed to this program because of the principles of freedom of expression and the idea that we can be lifelong learners and change our opinions as new information comes into our world” , did he declare.

Hall Friedmann
| Deputy news editor

Halle Friedman is a junior at Trinity and associate editor of the 118th volume of The Chronicle.

Nancy I. Romero