The University of Utah College of Law has been named for late Salt Lake lawyer S.J. Quinney in recognition of $30 million in donations provided by the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation.

That total includes a $26 million endowment announced Friday — one of the largest gifts in the university's history.

A ceremony was held at the law school Friday to announce the naming and to recognize the generous donation.

"The university is deeply grateful for this incredibly generous gift," said university President J. Bernard Machen. "The Quinney family and the members of the foundation board fully understand the enormous contribution a first-rate law school can make to the state and the nation, and are providing the resources to do just that."

The Quinney Foundation donation will be spread over 10 years and will be used largely for an operating endowment, providing funds for scholarships, the law library, professorships and special academic programs, Machen said. Student and faculty recruitment will be enhanced.

"We are overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement," law school dean Scott M. Matheson Jr. said. "This magnificent gift will propel our law school to the highest levels of quality and achievement in legal education."

Quinney family representative Rick Lawson, S.J. Quinney's grandson and a member of the foundation's board of directors, said that "naming of the law school after my grandfather is the highest honor that I can imagine. My grandfather and grandmother always held education in the highest esteem, and this opportunity we've been given exactly matches the ideals they instilled in their family and colleagues."

Herbert C. Livsey, who also serves on the foundation board and who is a partner in the firm of Ray, Quinney and Nebeker, praised S.J. Quinney as a "first-rate legal scholar with a deep and abiding respect for the law." Quinney died in 1983 after having practiced for more than 60 years.

A Logan native, Quinney graduated from Harvard Law School in 1919. He returned to Utah and with partners set up the law firm where he worked throughout his career.

A member of the National Ski Hall of Fame, he was involved in the development of Alta Ski Resort and in 1938 helped form the Salt Lake Winter Sports Association. He was an advocate for environmental protection, with particular concerns for Logan Canyon and southern Utah's red rock country.

Among his friends was noted writer Wallace Stegner, who lived part of his life in Utah. Quinney helped establish the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment at the College of Law, contributing a $2.5 million grant in 1996.