Ralph Shapiro ’58 and Shirley Shapiro, UCLA alumni and longtime friends of UCLA School of Law, built upon their legendary generosity last year when they founded two new chairs at the law school: a $2 million gift to establish the Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Chair in Law and a $1 million gift to establish the Michael J. Klein Chair in Law.
The aim of the Shapiro Chair, recently assumed by Dean Jennifer Mnookin, is to support a faculty member of the highest academic and professional caliber who will advance the study and practice of the law. The Klein Chair, named for the Shapiros’ longtime friend and accountant, will be used to support the teaching and research activities of a faculty member with an expertise in environmental and/or energy law.
The Shapiros are among the most committed philanthropists at UCLA. Their giving across campus includes more than two dozen endowed chairs, 14 of which are in the law school. Their previous UCLA Law chairs include the Shirley Shapiro Chair in Environmental Law, held by Emmett Institute faculty co-director Ann Carlson, and the Pete Kameron Chair in Law, held by Neil Netanel. But the Shapiros have long supported a wide array of endeavors at the law school — from emergency-loan funding for students to significant discretionary support to the naming of the law school’s Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Courtyard — as well as across the UCLA campus.
Recipients of UCLA’s highest honor, the UCLA Medal, in 2019, the Shapiros are devoted to building infrastructures at UCLA that ensure the success of students across campus. A leading Southern California investor and commercial real estate holder, Ralph is the chairman of Avondale Investment Partners. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UCLA in 1953 and a J.D. from UCLA Law in 1958. Shirley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education from UCLA in 1959, is an avid outdoorswoman who knows that protecting our environment is of critical importance. She is also a longtime advocate of educational access and equity.