A campus celebration to officially rename the University of Montana law school took place Friday afternoon in the law building’s Garlington,Lohn & Robinson Plaza, according to a UM news release.

John Mudd, director of development and alumni relations for the Blewitt School of Law, said the renaming is in response to the many generous gifts and years of support by the Blewitt family for the university in general, and the law school in particular.

"Over the years, the Belwitt family has continued to be donors to this school at every critical juncture," Mudd said. "They gave money for a brand new courtroom in the 1990's, they helped spearhead the building campaign, and Zander, Andy and his mother, Fern, made a major gift to fund a law review office. A couple of years ago they gave us $800,000 to help with scholarships, and then they rounded that up essentially, with another $9.2 million for a total of $10 million. In acknowledgement of that gift, the university has renamed the law school, as it has done with other renaming gifts on campus."

The renaming ceremony included remarks by UM President Royce Engstrom, law school Dean Paul Kirgis and Zander Blewett, a 1971 graduate of the school, the release continued. The national president of the American Bar Association, Paulette Brown also attended. Brown has been inMissoulain conjunction with the annual meeting of the State Bar of Montana. She met with UM law students on Thursday.

Mudd said the Blewett gift allows the law school to create an endowed chair in consumer law and protection, with endowed support for programs in consumer protection and access to justice. It also provides $1.5 million for the Access to Legal Education Scholarship Fund and creates an endowed discretionary fund for general law school support.

According to the news release, Zander and his sons now practice law at Hoyt & Blewett, one of Montana’s pre-eminent law firms. Zander is the managing partner and one of the top trial lawyers in the nation. He is the onlyMontanalawyer admitted to theInner Circleof Advocates, an association limited to 100 litigators in theUnited States. He was the onlyMontanalawyer to be admitted to the 100 Mountain States Super Lawyers of 2012. Zander also has been the Montana Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year twice.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM