Jerry Organ, David Grenardo, Steve Tourek and Neil Hamilton.
(l-r): Jerry Organ, David Grenardo, Steve Tourek and Neil Hamilton. (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

Holloran Center Receives Major Gift to Support Professional Formation Among Law Students

The law school’s Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions has received a major gift from Jake Marvin, former CEO of Marvin Companies, to establish the Steve Tourek and Jake Marvin Scholars Endowment. The fund will be used to engage students in the mission and work of the Holloran Center, which provides innovative interdisciplinary research, curriculum development and programs on the topic of professional identity formation, for law students and other disciplines.

“Steve Tourek and Jake Marvin are models of servant leadership,” said Professor Neil Hamilton, founding director and current co-director of the Holloran Center. “We are deeply grateful for this gift that will empower the next generation of servant leaders.”

The Holloran Center will use the endowment to create a program for law students, who will be called Tourek and Marvin Scholars. The students will have direct access to the center’s award-winning programming, including professional development opportunities, mentoring and coaching from Holloran Center leaders. Scholars will also build professional skills by contributing to the research and national outreach of the center.

“Fostering each student’s development to become a servant leader has always been the central mission of the Holloran Center,” Hamilton said. “The students selected as Tourek and Marvin Scholars will have opportunities, beyond what all St. Thomas law students already engage in, to gain experience working with us to change legal education and the profession, and to reflect with our help about their journey to becoming a lawyer and how they develop their professional identity.”

Marvin made the gift to support professional ethics education and to honor his longtime employee attorney Steve Tourek, who has had a long relationship with St. Thomas Law. Tourek has worked with Marvin Companies for 45 years, 24 years as one of the founding attorneys at Winthrop & Weinstine P.A. and 21 years in-house as the company’s general counsel and senior vice president.

“Over his many years in leadership roles at the Fed, at Marvin and as an independent director on other company boards, Jake has seen examples of both good and poor leadership, and he wants to support the intentional development of ethical leaders at the bar and in business,” Tourek said.

Tourek has served as a mentor to law students in the school’s Mentor Externship Program for 23 years, including 10 years as a faculty mentor, and has been a guest speaker in the Ethical Leadership in Organizations class for 21 years.

Steve Tourek and Elizabeth Ogren.
Steve Tourek (l) with his mentee, 2L Elizabeth Ogren. (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

“I have loved every minute I’ve spent with my St. Thomas law school students,” he said. “They are motivated and seek to not only become outstanding professionals, but they also want to make this world a better place by serving others. They care and they approach their learning process holistically, integrating their professional role in society with their personal journey of discovery and growth.”

Tourek says he became involved in legal education because of challenges he saw within the profession.

“The studies being published when I first began teaching demonstrated that lawyers suffered from rates of divorce, depression, mental illness, chemical dependency and suicide that were far higher than the population at large,” he said. “We were not particularly successful at integrating our professional identity, our personal identity, our life purpose and our faith with our roles as peacemakers and community builders as practicing lawyers. I desperately wanted to work with students to better prepare them for the practice and lives of purpose and meaning as integrated human beings.”

The Thomas E. Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions was established in 2006 with a mission to help the next generation of lawyers, much like students in medical school, for example, form professional identities with a moral core of responsibility and service to others.

These concepts are now deeply embedded into legal education at St. Thomas Law. Professional formation, as part of a law school curriculum, develops in students the skills they will need to better serve their clients and maintain the integrity of the profession once they enter it. It also puts law students on a trajectory toward meaningful employment, because while they are in law school, they reflect upon the law as a vocation and explore the profession, inside and outside the classroom, to truly understand the role of a lawyer.

The Holloran Center’s work has impacted countless law students, at St. Thomas, but also nationally. Co-directors Neil Hamilton and Jerry Organ, through their scholarly work and collaboration with law schools across the country, and even internationally, have contributed to the framework for the broader professional identity formation movement.

Since 2007, Hamilton has published 60 long articles and three books on professionalism and student professional identity formation. Organ has published several articles as well and has been one of the principal investigators in an ongoing study of law student wellness. National Jurist named him among the 20 most influential people in legal education in 2024.

In 2022, Professor David Grenardo joined the center as an associate director. Last year he won the prestigious American Inns of Court Warren E. Burger Prize which recognizes legal scholarship that makes a significant contribution in the areas of professionalism, ethics, civility and excellence.

“The work of the Holloran Center is focused on bringing and applying academic rigor and thoughtful discussion to the need for ethical leadership in legal practice and in business,” Tourek said. “These two human endeavors have the capacity for great good. We are grateful to Jake for his gift.”