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OU College of Law receives $2 million Mabee Foundation donation to create scholarship honoring Judge Thomas Brett

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Former U.S. District Judge Thomas Brett.

OU received a gift of $2 million from the Mabee Foundation to create an endowed scholarship for students in the College of Law.

The donation was given in memory of Thomas Brett, an OU Law graduate, former U.S. District Judge and long-serving trustee of the Mabee Foundation who died February 6. The foundation seeks to honor Brett with its donation, according to a university press release, calling him “an Oklahoma federal judicial icon."

“Judge Brett’s decades of service on the federal bench were guided by his ethics and the swift but fair administration of justice,” OU President Joseph Harroz said in the press release. 

Brett was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. He was also a former president of the Tulsa and Oklahoma County bar associations and a former member of the OU Board of Regents. According to the press release, Brett’s relationship with the Mabee Foundation spanned 40 years, with 18 of those spent as a trustee. 

According to the release, the endowment agreement will allow the dean of the OU College of Law and the college’s scholarship selection committee to recruit or retain students from Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.

“The Mabee Foundation’s generosity affords access to a premier legal education to students committed to the justice and fairness marking Judge Brett’s work,” OU College of Law Dean Katheleen Guzman said in the press release. “It will make a significant difference in the lives of those to whom the scholarship is awarded. We are so grateful.”

The Foundation was formed in 1948 by John and Lottie Mabee. Since its inception, it has made grants totaling over $1.2 billion, primarily funding capital expenditures and the purchase of major medical equipment in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas, according to the press release.

“This remarkable gift from the Mabee foundation not only pays tribute to his character, it will help ensure that the College of Law remains competitive as it thoroughly prepares students for the real-world experiences they will face as lawyers,” Harroz said.

Quinn Daugherty is an incoming professional writing junior and a junior news reporter for The Daily.

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