On November 2, 2021, it will be 20 years since the University of Utah College of Law became the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, thanks to a generous donation of $26 million from the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation. The effects of that donation cannot be overstated.
But first, before discussing the contributions, something should be said about S.J. (Joe) Quinney. Quinney was born in Logan, Utah in 1893 and became a talented lawyer, prominent businessman and ski industry pioneer. He had a statewide impact, being a founder of the law firm of Ray, Quinney and Nebeker; a founder of Alta Ski Area; a member of Utah’s House of Representatives; a prime force in Utah’s legal and business community; and a lifelong supporter of the arts and culture in the State.
Quinney had a storied 60-year legal career. He was an advisor in the founding of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles, Nora Eccles Treadwell, and Emma Eccles Jones Foundations. And Joe, with his wife Jess, developed, and funded the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation.
The Quinneys began making meaningful philanthropic gifts, including a gift to the University of Utah College of Law to establish the S.J.Quinney Law Library. Then, in 1995, the Quinney Foundation made funds available for an endowment for the Wallace Stegner Center to help support the work in natural resources that Joe and his wife, Jess, so firmly supported and believed in.
Joe Quinney’s legacy has had an enormous impact, most directly, on students. “The gift was truly transformational and has allowed us to do and accomplish so much—from providing student financial support to supporting world-class research and activities of faculty,” said Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner, the first female and Native American dean at the College of Law. “There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank Joe Quinney and his family for the exceptional gift and investment in the College of Law.”
Quinney’s legacy can be found in every area of the state, from Alta Ski resort to the Utah Symphony, but most importantly, for the S.J. Quinney College of Law, his legacy is deeply felt and greatly appreciated. The law school will be honoring that legacy this year, starting in September when a monthly artifact from Quinney’s life will be displayed in the law school.