The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals awarded Thomas R. Kline the Individual Philanthropist of the Year on Nov. 13.
One of the nation’s leading personal injury lawyers and a founding partner of Kline & Specter, Kline provided a transformative $50 million gift to the law school in 2014, the largest single donation in the University’s history and among the largest gifts given to any law school in the U.S.
Drexel President John Fry nominated Kline for the award, noting the “huge amounts of wealth, knowledge and hope” he has given to hundreds if not thousands of people and organizations. Fry observed the capacity of Kline's gift to enhance the law school’s stature nationally as well as his profound concern and effective advocacy for those who have suffered catastrophic injuries.
The donation to the law school, which includes the former Beneficial Savings Fund Society Building at 12th and Chestnut streets, paves the way for creation of the Thomas R. Kline Institute for Trial Advocacy, expansion of the school’s Trial Advocacy Program and support for scholarships and faculty. The gift will allow the school to become a major force in trial advocacy education.
Kline & Specter has previously given generously to higher education institutions, providing Drexel with $750,000 to create the Kline & Specter Squash Center, home to the U.S. Open National Squash Tournament for three consecutive years, and Penn Law School with $1 million.
Individually, Kline’s philanthropy has also included major gifts to the William Penn Charter School, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, the National Constitution Center, the Valley Forge Military Academy and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania.
Kline has also been generous with his leadership skills, serving as a University Trustee since 2012 and serving on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the U.S. District Court for the federal courts in Pennsylvania from 1989 through 2011, much of that time as chairman. He has held different roles with the Inner Circle of Advocates, an invitation-only group that selects from the top 100 plaintiffs’ lawyers in the nation.