Past chair of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees J. Landis “Lanny” Martin ’68, ’73 JD, ’22 H and Sharon Martin (’02, ’08 P) have made a $3 million gift to endow faculty positions at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
The gift establishes the Law Community Professorship Fund along with a matching gift challenge, through which the Martins will match gifts to the fund dollar-for-dollar up to $3 million. By instituting this challenge, the Martins aim to expand the fund’s impact and endow multiple full professorships at the school.
“Through their philanthropy and leadership, Lanny and Sharon Martin have helped drive the growth and excellence of the Law School and Northwestern,” said University President Michael H. Schill, who holds an appointment as a professor at Northwestern Pritzker Law. “I am so thankful for their extraordinary generosity and enduring commitment to the University.”
An endowed professorship is one of the highest honors bestowed on a faculty member, and the Martins’ matching gift challenge will bolster the school’s efforts to recruit top faculty.
“We are extremely grateful for Lanny and Sharon Martin’s impactful gift that will allow us to establish new endowed professorships,” said Hari M. Osofsky, Northwestern Pritzker Law dean. “These professorships will play a critical role in our Law School’s ability to recruit and retain the most outstanding faculty, which advances diverse excellence, provides our students with important learning experiences and supports innovative research that addresses major societal challenges.”
Northwestern is inviting benefactors in the Law School community to participate in the matching gift challenge.
“Sharon and I are honored to support one of Dean Osofsky’s top strategic priorities: increasing the number of endowed professorships at the Law School,” Lanny Martin said. “We hope others will join us in aiding her crucial efforts to strengthen and diversify Northwestern Pritzker Law’s faculty.”
The Martins’ latest gift brings their total giving to Northwestern to more than $45 million. Their longtime philanthropic support has benefited areas across the University, including Northwestern Pritzker Law, Northwestern Athletics and Recreation and the Bienen School of Music. Over the years, the pair created the J. Landis Martin Professorship of Law and Business; made a $10 million unrestricted gift providing funding for the Law School, allowing the implementation of innovative strategies to improve legal education and enhance the student experience; helped establish Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium, the University’s soccer and lacrosse field, through a $15 million gift to Northwestern Athletics and Recreation; and made several generous gifts to the Law School Fund and Bienen School of Music Fund.
After joining the Northwestern University Board of Trustees in 1999, Lanny Martin served as the Board’s chair from September 2017 through August 2022. He also is a life member of the Northwestern Law Board. Throughout We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, Lanny and Sharon Martin served in several volunteer leadership roles: as co-chairs of the University’s “We Will” Campaign and Northwestern Pritzker Law’s “Motion to Lead” Campaign and members of the Athletics and Recreation Campaign Committee and Colorado Regional Campaign Committee.
Lanny Martin received his bachelor’s in business from Northwestern in 1968 and his J.D. from the Law School in 1973, where he served as an editor of Northwestern University Law Review. In 2022, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University, and in 1996, he was the recipient of a Northwestern Alumni Association Alumni Merit Award.
After a successful tenure as a law firm associate and then partner and member of the executive and firm committees at Kirkland & Ellis, he has led numerous companies that span multiple industries. He is the founder and managing director of Platte River Equity, a private equity investment firm in Denver focused on small- and middle-market operating companies, and the founding director and board chairman of Houston-based Crown Castle International Corporation. He retired in 2005 as chairman and CEO of Denver-based Titanium Metals Corporation and was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2012.
Sharon Martin is a member of the Northwestern University Women’s Board. She earned her bachelor’s from Denison University, where she is a life trustee. She has been a leader in the Denver arts community for decades. She and Lanny have three children (Mary Lester; Sarah Stettner, who received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern in 2002 and a J.D. from the Law School in 2007; and Emily Jones, who received degrees from Feinberg School of Medicine in 2008 and 2011) and nine grandchildren.