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The estate gift, which the university will receive when the Chrismans die, will represent the largest cash gift in the history of the law school.
The gift will fund endowed chairs, known as the Byron and Carlene Chrisman Chairs in Free Enterprise at Colorado Law, for two senior faculty positions that will be held by nationally renowned scholars with an appreciation and commitment to free enterprise and capitalism.
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The chairs will join about 100 endowed CU chairs that demonstrate faculty accomplishment and help the university recruit talent.
Along with establishing the endowed chairs, the Chrismans’ estate gift also includes four $100,000 donations to scholarship funds established to honor four former Colorado Law faculty leaders: Harold Bruff, David Getches, Jim Carrigan and Edward King.
Byron Chrisman has a storied past. He quit school after eighth grade to milk cows and pick cotton. He joined the Army and earned a GED, though he initially failed to gain admission to Colorado Law due to poor test scores.
He worked for the Internal Revenue Service until later gaining admission to the law school after achieving better test scores and making a good impression on the then dean of Colorado Law, Edward King.
In 1975, Chrisman co-founded the law firm Chrisman and Bynum, which later became Chrisman Bynum & Johnson in Boulder. Chrisman eventually shifted to developing commercial real estate and retired from practicing law in 1997.