Bob Barker donates funds to Law School
‘The Price is Right’ host, long-time animal rights advocate pledges $1 million to create U.Va. animal law program
Television personality Bob Barker, who hosted “The Price is Right” for many years, recently donated $1 million to the University Law School for the establishment of an animal law program.
“The Bob Barker Animal Law Program will include a course on animal law taught by Prof. Mimi Riley [and a] speaker series that will touch on various topics concerning animal law,” Law Dean Paul Mahoney said.
The course on animal law, which is planned to debut in the 2009-10 academic year, will be the first formal course entirely devoted to the topic in Virginia, according to a University press release. The course will be offered in most academic years — either annually or biannually, Riley said — as part of a “commitment to Mr. Barker.”
Barker, who is famous for his animal rights advocacy, concluded episodes of his long-running game show with a statement encouraging pet owners to spay and neuter their pets and has given similar monetary donations to many law schools, including those at Harvard, Columbia, Duke, Northwestern and Stanford universities.
Georgetown University Law Center received a similar donation from Barker in 2006 and has collaborated with the Humane Society of the United States to use the funds effectively, said Deborah Epstein, Law Center associate dean for clinical education and public interest. First, Georgetown created a “one-semester experiential learning course taught by the head of litigation from the Humane Society,” Epstein said. Secondly, Georgetown established a post-graduate program that grants a one- to two-year fellowship with the Humane Society dealing with animal law, Epstein said. Finally, Georgetown plans to hold a conference about animal law in the spring, Epstein added.
At the University of Virginia, Barker’s donation will not only pay for a speaker series and a course on animal law; it will also help to fund a writing competition about animal law that will be open to all University graduate students. Additionally, Barker’s donation will also provide internship and externship opportunities for Law students interested in animal law issues, but Mahoney and Riley both said the details of such opportunities are still “premature.”
“Animal law is growing in importance, and therefore it is something we should have in our curriculum,” Mahoney said. “But it is always a question of resources and Bob Barker’s gift has addressed that issue.”