San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 27th, 2011
Jamail gives $1 million to San Marcos Academy

Special to the Mercury

Prominent Houston attorney and philanthropist Joe Jamail has given $1 million to San Marcos Academy, his late wife’s high school alma mater,  administrators announced today. It is the largest cash gift in the academy’s 104-year-history.

San Marcos Academy has received a $1 million gift from Houston attorney and philanthropist Joe Jamail, shown in this undated photo with his late wife, Lee Hage Jamail, who graduated from San Marcos Academy in 1944. COURTESY PHOTO

The gift will establish a fund to build a special event center on the Academy campus in memory of Jamail’s wife, Lee, who graduated from San Marcos Academy in 1944. The Academy will seek additional donations to fully fund the project.

“I am pleased to make the lead gift for the construction of the Lee Hage Jamail Special Event Center on the San Marcos Academy campus,” Jamail said. “Lee’s formative years were spent on that campus, from the time of her arrival as a very young child, all the way to her high school graduation. I know first hand that she received an excellent education there from a faculty and staff of caring people—an education that served her well all of her life.”

Lee Hage Jamail came to San Marcos Academy as a young girl in 1933, living in the home of President and Mrs. Raymond Cavness until she was old enough to begin classes. She attended the Academy for ten years, graduating in 1944. Receiving her B.A. degree from the University of the Incarnate Word, Mrs. Jamail taught special education in Austin and completed graduate work at the University of Texas while her husband finished law school at the University of Texas. As a life-long philanthropist, Mrs. Jamail gave her time and resources to support education, health care and art.

“We are grateful to Joe Jamail for this significant gift and for the generous support we have received from Lee and Joe Jamail at San Marcos Academy over the years,” Academy President John Garrison said. “The special event center, to be named in memory of Lee Jamail, will provide much-needed space on our campus for athletic events, fine arts programs and other special activities.”

In 2000, Jamail and his wife, who died in 2007, established the Jamail Endowed Scholarship at the Academy with a gift of $200,000. They also made a significant contribution to the Jack and Bobbie Byrom Endowed Chair fund and have made several other generous financial gifts to the school in past years.

Joe Jamail, a partner in the Houston law firm of Jamail & Kolius, is one of the most successful attorneys in American history with more than $12 billion in jury verdicts and more than $13 million in verdicts and settlements. Named the “trial lawyer of the century” by California Trial Lawyers, Texas Monthly and others, Jamail has given away much of his wealth to support worthy causes and institutions. He has made numerous donations to his alma mater, the University of Texas, as well as to the University of Texas Law School and to Rice University. In 2008, he funded the $1.5 million Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark in downtown Houston.

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