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Law Center Announces $800,000 J. Bennett Johnston Science Foundation Gift Supporting the Laborde Energy Law Center

Two men and a woman smile with a man and woman each holding wooden plaques

Pictured during the J. Bennett Johnston gift announcement held on Sept. 12, 2014 at the LSU Law Center are: Mary Johnston Norris, President of the J. Bennett Johnston Science Foundation; Jack M. Weiss, Chancellor; and former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston (’56).

(Baton Rouge, LA)—LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss is pleased to announce an $800,000 gift from the J. Bennett Johnston Science Foundation to the LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center. The gift establishes the J. Bennett Johnston Energy Law Endowment Fund in honor of Senator Johnston and will support student internships and field placements in energy law and policy. The fund will serve as a challenge fund for the Law Center’s $20 million Energy Law Center fundraising campaign.

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The internships and field placements created as a result of the gift will allow LSU Law students to be placed in prestigious energy-related positions in government, industry and nonprofit organizations. These new experiential learning opportunities, a hallmark of the newly created Certificate in Energy Law and Policy, will afford students opportunities to expand their knowledge of the practical aspects of energy law and policy.

Joining Chancellor Weiss for the gift announcement were Senator Johnston, a 1956 graduate of the Law Center; Mary Johnston Norris, daughter of the Senator and Chair of the J. Bennett Johnston Science Foundation; David Norriss, member of the Johnston Science Foundation; Ryan Crespino, V.P. for Finance and Administration, Greater New Orleans Foundation; and Daryl Owen (’81) and Charles McBride, former staff members during the Johnston years in Washington, D.C..

In announcing the award, Chancellor Weiss noted, “No member of Congress in the last 100 years has played a more important role in crafting the nation’s energy laws than Senator Johnston did as Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. His support for the LSU Law Energy Law program, as a major donor and Chair of our Advisory Council, will create a legacy that benefits hundreds of LSU Law students for years to come. This key architect of national energy policy is now helping to build a premier Energy Law program for Louisiana and the nation.”

“There are exciting things going on in the renaissance of energy today,” said Senator Johnston during the ceremony. “No state – or law school – has a better opportunity to build an outstanding energy law program than we have … I want to echo what Chancellor Weiss said, that the Laborde Energy Law Center can be the ‘Westpoint’ of energy… While there are a lot of exciting things happening at the Law Center, none is more exciting than the Energy Law Center,” added Senator Johnston.

About the LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center

In August 2012, the LSU Law Center, with the approval of the LSU Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana Board of Regents, created an academic center for comprehensive instruction and research in energy law. The LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center, the first such center in Louisiana and one of a handful in law schools nationwide, prepares lawyers to address the full range of 21st century issues in the complex energy sector and to assume leadership roles in industry, government, nonprofits, and the academy.