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The Massey Fund for Law, Innovation, and Capital Markets

Photo of Eli zabeth S. and John H. Massey
Elizabeth S. and John H. Massey
Photo credit: Marsha Miller

Elizabeth S. and John H. Massey have donated $2.4 million to establish the Massey Fund for the Study of Law, Innovation, and Capital Markets at the University of Texas School of Law. The overarching goal of the Massey Fund is to make UT Law a leader in law-centered interdisciplinary research and teaching that promote the institutions and practices that encourage robust and sound links between capital markets and innovation.

The Massey Fund will also underwrite the Massey Prize in Law, Innovation, and Capital Markets — a $50,000 prize to be awarded biennially to the scholarly book, article, or body of work that has made the most important contribution to the understanding of law, innovation, and capital markets. The Massey Prize, which will call for the submission of relevant books and articles written or translated into the English language from around the world, will be presented every two years at a major conference to be held at the University of Texas School of Law.

"I am extremely pleased that UT Law School will be home to the Massey Prize and I'm excited about the work that will surround it — all because of the Masseys' vision and generosity," said Dean Larry Sager. "I speak for the entire UT Law School community when I say that we are profoundly thankful for all that Libba and John Massey do for the Law School. We will work hard every day to deserve the faith and trust that Libba and John have demonstrated toward us."

John Massey's interest in endowing this fund at his law school stems from his strong belief in the importance of the rule of law for economic stabilization and growth. Noting the challenges of structuring governmental institutions and of creating frameworks for economic development facing countries around the world, most notably those that gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he said, "Libba and I want to create an international prize for scholarship which recognizes the importance of public policy and the rule of law in its impact on the capital markets, and therefore on the sustainability of a nation's long-term potentials for growth, economic development, and the accompanying high standards of living. And by innovation we are not simply referencing new scientific or technological breakthroughs. We also seek to include important social and economic innovations which improve the lives of people, such as advancing organizational structures, managerial processes, global distribution avenues, business models, teaching methodologies, financing techniques, and improved equitable enforcements of the surrounding legal frameworks. We believe the University of Texas School of Law is the best possible place for us to permanently establish this research award and its supporting endowment."

The interconnection between the rule of law and economic development and opportunity has gained nearly universal acceptance during the last two decades. After the collapse of Asian currencies in the 1990s and the coincidental disruption of the economies of those states once under Soviet control, the rule of law has taken center stage as the critical component of wealth creation (see "Order in the jungle," The Economist March 15, 2008: 83-85).

The purpose of the biennial Massey Prize Symposium is to announce and celebrate the winner of the Massey Prize, and also to bring together an interdisciplinary mix of students, faculty, and experts working in the field of law, innovation, and capital markets for lectures and panel discussions on relevant and timely topics. The inaugural Massey Prize Symposium is scheduled for November 11, 2011.

Mr. and Mrs. Massey are natives of Columbus, Texas. They have made their home in Dallas since 1966. John H. Massey, a member of the UT Law School Class of 1966, has spent his professional life as a successful investor and executive in radio, television, banking, and the insurance business. Mr. Massey is a Trustee of the University of Texas Law School Foundation and the University of Texas Foundation, and a Lifetime Member of the McCombs School of Business Advisory Council. Elizabeth Shatto Massey, BS 1961, has long been active as a community volunteer. She recently completed nine years of service as a trustee of Highland Park Independent School District, is the past chair of the UT College of Education's Advisory Council, immediate past chair of UT's Development Board, a member of the Executive Committee of the Chancellor's Council for the UT System, and an at-large member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Exes. Mrs. Massey, who was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the Texas Exes in 2010, currently co-chairs the university-wide $3 billion Campaign for Texas.

The Massey Fund for the Study of Law, Innovation, and Capital Markets is the latest, but by no means the first, example of the Masseys' remarkable generosity to UT Law School and to the University of Texas generally. In the fall of 2004, the University of Texas School of Law announced the endowment of the Massey Teaching Excellence Award. The Law School presents the award, which includes a $50,000 stipend during each year of the two-year honor, to a faculty member who "epitomizes the School's priority of providing the highest quality of teaching to its students."

At the UT System, the Masseys have permanently endowed two discretionary "excellence in education" funds for the benefit of the Chancellor's Office and the College of Education, two full academic scholarships for future teachers, and two additional awards for teaching excellence. One honors "those who teach people to be teachers," reflecting Elizabeth Massey's devotion to teachers, teaching, the University's UTeach program, and the College of Education, where she studied from 1957 to 1961. The second recognizes teaching excellence at UT's medical school in Galveston, from which John Massey's grandfather, Dr. A.H. Potthast, graduated with an MD in 1915.