Law School Receives $10 Million Gift from Lanny and Sharon Martin

July 23, 2013

Gift will provide support to help the Law School implement innovative strategies for improving legal education and enhancing the student experience.

Northwestern Law is pleased to announce that alumnus J. Landis “Lanny” Martin (JD ’73, BS ’68) and his wife, Sharon, have made a $10 million unrestricted gift to the Law School.  

“This extraordinary gift to our Law School will provide funding to enable us to implement our innovative strategies for improving legal education and enhancing the student experience at Northwestern Law School,” said Dean Daniel Rodriguez. “At a time when the legal profession is changing in dynamic ways and in which law schools must rise to new challenges, philanthropic investments like this are essential to moving the law school forward and keeping our commitment to educational excellence at the highest level.”

A member of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees and the Law Board, Martin has been a consistently generous alumnus and a key source of advice and support to Law School and University leaders over many years. His experiences at the intersection of law and business exemplify the eclectic, entrepreneurial careers that Northwestern Law prepares students to undertake.  

After a successful tenure as a law firm associate and then partner and member of the executive and firm committees at Kirkland & Ellis, Martin has led numerous companies that span multiple industries.  From 1987 to 2003, he was CEO and president of NL Industries, Incorporated, a specialty chemical producer with operations in the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, and Norway.  From 1989 to 2005, Martin was chairman and CEO of Titanium Metals Corporation, the world’s largest supplier of titanium used in aerospace and other industrial applications.  In 2005, Lanny founded Denver-based Platte River Equity, a private equity investment firm focused on small and middle market operating companies; he currently serves as managing director. He serves as lead director of Halliburton Company and is also a founding director and Chairman of the Board of Crown Castle International Corporation, a leading independent owner and operator of wireless communication sites. He is also a member of the board and lead director of Denver-based Intrepid Potash, Inc., and Apartment Investment Management Company, one of the nation’s largest owner, operator, and manager of apartments.

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

Unrestricted gifts to the Law School provide the financial flexibility to fund important initiatives and programs, including increased financial aid, classroom and facilities upgrades, new faculty hires, or enhanced student programming and activities.

“Gifts like this one go a long way towards enriching opportunities for our students, improving the already-high academic reputation of the Law School, and undertaking innovations which will prepare our students to become leaders in the profession,” said Rodriguez. “We are thrilled about this unrestricted support of our Law School and are committed to using these funds responsibly and ambitiously to bring Northwestern Law to the highest level of excellence.”