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Lewis Katz, Namesake of Penn State Law Building, Dies in Plane Crash

by and on June 01, 2014 6:25 PM

Lewis Katz, who donated $15 million to Penn State for the construction of the law building has died in a tragic plane crash in Massachusetts.

The plane crashed into a field Saturday night and burst into flames according to various media outlets. Katz graduated from the Dickinson Law School and the Law Building on the University Park campus bears his name. He was the co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, and Katz was 72.

The Gulfstream IV plane crashed at about 9:40 p.m. last night as it took off on a flight to Atlantic City. All seven people on the plane were killed. The plane erupted into a fireball over Hanscom Field, and the blast shook nearby homes, according to

Katz was a distinguished Penn State alumnus and just gained control of the Philadelphia media outlets on Tuesday after he bought out his partners for $88 million.

Born and raised in Camden, N.J., Katz obtained his undergraduate degree from Temple, never thinking he would receive an award from Penn State. “The only time I had been to Penn State was to see my girlfriend!” Katz once said.

After starting his own law firm, he owned parts of the then-New York Nets, New Jersey Devils and New York Yankees. The Yankees’ YES Network and the Kinney Parking empire garnered a great deal of money for Katz as well.

It was announced this month that Temple’s School of Medicine is to be named for Katz, who served on its Board of Trustees and donated $25 million to the school.

“I’m very grateful and feel very privileged to have been so lucky,” Katz said regarding his business ventures. “I know I was lucky.”

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lewis Katz,” says Jim Houck, interim dean of the Law School in a prepared statement. “Countless lives have been improved thanks to his good work. We are proud of not only all that he has accomplished in his life but of the spirit of generosity and caring that he shared with so many organizations.”

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This post was originally published by the staff at Onward State. Follow Onward State on Twitter @OnwardState.

Gilbert is the Managing Editor of Onward State.
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