As one of the first female graduates of the University at Buffalo School of Law, Erma Hallett Jaeckle was distinctly ahead of her time. Now, thanks in part to her forward-thinking generosity, her gifts will support the law school.
Jaeckle was one of just four women in her graduating class of 1936. She practiced patent law, enlisted in the Coast Guard during World War II, and later moved to Florida where she formed her own law firm—the first in her area with all-female partners.
Regardless of where she called home, UB was never far from her heart, as she remained a steadfast advocate for the law school throughout her long life (she died at the age of 101 in 2015).
Jaeckle’s generous support for UB spanned an extraordinary four decades, and she and her husband gave a significant gift that established what is now the Jaeckle Center for Law, Democracy and Governance.
But perhaps Jaeckle’s most lasting gift stemmed from her foresight. Always a canny lawyer with an eye for making the best use of her resources, she included two provisions in her will that continue to benefit her law school alma mater: an outright bequest, and the establishment of charitable remainder trusts for the benefit of her children, with the balance in the future to benefit the law school. (Her estate made a considerable gift to the school this year, after one of her sons passed away.)
With her bequest and other deferred gifts, Jaeckle recognized the power to leave a legacy and change others’ lives far into the future, just as she embraced opportunity throughout her own unparalleled career. She clearly saw an even brighter future for the law school—and she welcomed her pivotal role in bringing it to life.
Legal education has never been more important. Today, UB is proud to be the flagship law school of New York State, with exceptional faculty and a diverse student base. Thanks to donors like Erma Jaeckle, UB will continue to lead the way and inspire many more generations of legal pioneers.
Knowing the Law School’s priorities would evolve, Erma Jaeckle entrusted UB with an unrestricted gift that allows the school to address the most critical needs at any given time.
“Erma Jaeckle was a pioneer,” noted Aviva Abramovsky, the first woman to lead the School of Law as dean. “Her gift allows us to accelerate our rise by quickly and efficiently directing resources where they are needed most, such as assisting with student emergencies as well as supporting social justice and racial equity initiatives.”