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’76 Alum Gifts $200,000 to Establish Scholarship for Hockey Players

Dan Downey

The Honorable Daniel M. Downey, ’76, made a $200,000 gift for scholarships designed for law students who were former college hockey players.

Downey, who played college hockey for MSU and attended DCL, believes that the game of hockey demands the same type of character in the individual as does litigation.

“You fight like hell on the ice and in the courtroom, but when it’s over, you can and should remain great friends with your adversaries,” Downey said. “To paraphrase Professor A.J. Thomas, ‘life is too short’ to do otherwise.”

Downey says his purpose for establishing this scholarship was two-fold. “First, it allowed me to give back to the law school that prepared me to pass any bar exam in the country (with the possible exception of Louisiana), and to succeed in the practice of law. Second, I thought it might make an interesting recruiting tool for the hockey team, especially for the parents of a recruit, by providing an incentive to choose MSU over other schools.

“Recruits may think they are destined for the NHL and that college hockey is just a stop along the way. But parents understand that fate may have something else in store for their kid that shatters that dream, such as a career-ending injury, or the stark realization that they are just not good enough. (In my case, it was coach’s invitation to clean out my locker as I was being cut to make room for more skilled players.) This scholarship will give players an alternative career path they might not have otherwise considered.”

Downey now joins the Heritage Club in MSU College of Law’s Circle of Friends.


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