Dec. 14, 2020 - The John M. O'Quinn Foundation will be recipient of the President's Medallion, the highest honor personally bestowed by UH President and System Chancellor Renu Khator, on Dec. 17 at the University of Houston's virtual commencement ceremony.
"The John M. O'Quinn Foundation supports a wide variety of charitable activities throughout the Houston community and is one of UH's most generous financial benefactors," Khator said.
"Mr. O'Quinn's legacy lives on through the O'Quinn Law Library, throughout the Law Center community and John M. O'Quinn Field at TDECU Stadium. Indeed, the reach of John O'Quinn's legacy is immense."
UH began awarding the President's Medallion in 2005 to recognize individuals and organizations who have shown an extraordinary commitment to advance the University and the community.
John M. O'Quinn graduated magna cum laude from the Law Center in 1967. He was State Moot Court champion in 1966 and Editor-In-Chief of the Houston Law Review from 1966-1967. He served as an adjunct professor of law at the Law Center, South Texas College of Law, and Texas Southern University College of Law. O'Quinn received the honor of Distinguished Alumnus from UH in 1993 and from the Law Center in 1996. He was the founding partner of The O'Quinn Law Firm and named one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” Texas Lawyer named him one of the "100 Legal Legends of Texas", and the Houston Chronicle listed him among the five best Texas trial lawyers of the past century.
In November of 2019, it was announced that The John M. O'Quinn Foundation contributed a significant gift to support construction of the Law Center's new facility, which will be named the John M. O'Quinn Law Building. The foundation bearing his name has donated more than $16 million to the Law Center, a significant portion of which supports the construction of the law building.
"We are very grateful that the O’Quinn Foundation made the largest gift in the Law Center’s history which helped provide pivotal funding for the construction of the new Law Center building," said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “I am delighted that the new state-of-the-art facility will be named after John M. O’ Quinn, one of our most accomplished alumni.
"Although I never had the good fortune to meet John, I know that a new Law Center building was an important objective for him. So even after his death, I am very excited that John has been able to achieve his objective."
"Lastly, John was a first-generation college student who pulled himself up by his bootstraps," Baynes continued. "Naming the new Law Center building after John sends an important signal to our students that UH Law provides the requisite training that allows students to pursue super successful careers and achieve justice for their clients just like John."