Faith E. Gay (JD ’86) and Wife Francesca Zambello Commit $3M to New Social Justice Professorship


Giving Alumni

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is delighted to announce that Faith E. Gay (JD ‘86) and Francesca Zambello have generously committed to gift $3 million to establish the Faith E. Gay and Francesca Zambello Chair in Social Justice. This endowed professorship will make an important difference in our efforts to advance human rights.

The Faith E. Gay and Francesca Zambello Chair in Social Justice will be awarded to a scholar whose academic focus is on economic, social and cultural rights, including religious liberty, in support of freedom, equality and personal autonomy. It will allow us to recruit a leading scholar whose research makes an important difference in advancing social justice and who will help us shape the next chapter of the law school’s human rights work.

“We are so grateful to Faith Gay and Francesca Zambello for their impactful support of Northwestern Pritzker Law through establishing this new professorship,” Dean Hari Osofsky said. “Their generosity will make an important difference in recruiting leading faculty and advancing social justice and human rights.”

Faith E. Gay is a founding partner of Selendy Gay Elsberg, PLLC, an elite trial firm in New York City where women hold 50% of the firm’s equity and more than 20% of the firm’s lawyers are LGBTQ+. Since its inception in 2018, the firm has been lauded as an innovator in diversity-focused recruiting practices, inclusive culture, and public interest litigation. In 2022, the firm was named pro bono firm of the year by Chambers, and also recognized for its prowess in bet-the-company commercial, white collar and appellate litigation. Faith serves on the Executive Committee of Northwestern Pritzker Law Board and provides important leadership and partnership to advance our law school. Her wife, Francesca Zambello, is a renowned director of opera and theater, and a highly visible spokesperson for social justice and inclusion in the performing arts. She serves as artistic and general director of the Glimmerglass Festival and the Washington National Opera.

Ms. Gay was recently named a Litigation Trailblazer by the National Law Journal, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Corporate Counsel, has been a repeat recipient of Crain’s Most Notable Women in Law and the LawDragon 500 awards, and received the prestigious Gould Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy from the Office of the Appellate Defender. Earlier in her career, Ms. Gay twice received the Director’s Award from the United States Department of Justice for excellence in trial advocacy.

“Faith and Francesca’s gift is a meaningful demonstration of their values and reflects their commitment to social justice. This gift will enable the Law School to attract and keep top legal scholars now and in the future,” said Associate Dean for Alumni Relations and Development Darnell Hines.

Faith and Francesca’s motivation for their gift is straightforward:  “The law, at its best, advances a vision of community built upon a foundation of universal respect, mutuality, and equality of opportunity.  This endowed chair is meant to solidify that foundation.”