Robert H. “Bobby” Schottenstein, L ’77, always knew he wanted to be a lawyer. He was greatly influenced by his cousin Melvin Schottenstein, a lawyer who along with Bobby’s father Irving, founded M/I Homes Inc.
“From early on, I was influenced by Mel; I wanted to be a lawyer,” recalls Bobby, who is now chairman, CEO and president of M/I Homes. “I was laser focused on it.”
After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in finance, Bobby returned to Columbus where he enrolled in Capital University Law School.
“I had a number of outstanding professors,” he says, citing Josiah Blackmore, Mark Nordenberg, Addison Dewey, Don Pederson, Ron Solove and Brian Freeman. “They stand out to me to this day. I felt really good about my education.”
To show his appreciation for his education, Bobby says, “I wanted to do something significant for Capital University.” He had discussions with Dean Reynaldo Anaya Valencia to talk about what would be most helpful and meaningful to the school. Together, they developed the idea of creating The M/I Homes Foundation Visiting Professor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The criteria for the appointment includes a focus on race, racism, social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, and a willingness to collaborate with faculty to help infuse DEI issues throughout the Law School and curriculum.
“The law school wants to provide greater focus on diversity, equity and inclusion – something of distinction for Capital,” Bobby says. “I really liked it from the moment the Dean suggested it.”
Both Bobby and M/I Homes have been long-time supporters of Capital University Law School. And, the M/I Homes Foundation has been an avid supporter of many charitable organizations, including the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, Homeport Ohio and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “In recent years, our focus has moved to areas and organizations that support diversity and equity,” Bobby says.
These include programs and institutions that strengthen education, provide shelter for the homeless, help the needy and disadvantaged, empower women and minorities, promote diversity in the workplace, nurture and mentor children, enhance and enrich the arts, and invest in research and medicine.
Bobby says the gift to create the visiting professor of DEI is the most significant support given to Capital and hopes the results will exceed expectations.
A member of a winning national Moot Court team while in law school, Bobby is the recipient of the 2015 Josiah H. Blackmore II Dean’s Award and is a member of the Past Dean’s Council Giving Society, the Past Presidents Council Giving Society and the Heritage Society.
Today, he serves as a member of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Board, and on the board of Installed Building Products Inc. He also serves on the executive committee of The Policy Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Pelotonia Board, the Columbus Partnership, and The Ohio State University Foundation Board.
Bobby was awarded an honorary Doctor of Human Letters degree from Ohio Dominican in 2009 and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Capital University Law School in 2011.
Higher education plays a significant role in his life, and he says everyone who has benefited from their education should ask themselves, “How much did I benefit from my education? Is there more I should be doing to help my school?”
“Capital provides an excellent education experience for its students,” Bobby says. “I know I benefited from my education. It was life-changing for me. I feel honored and proud to be able to give back and provide support.”
“Philanthropical support is vital to all educational institutions. It is often the X factor between good and great. Without philanthropy, schools are hard-pressed to do the things they want to do.”
“The cost of a quality legal education is high. Many desire to go to law school but simply can’t afford it. In addition to helping to create special programs, philanthropy helps the law school provide financial support for those who need it.”
He encourages fellow alumni to consider where they would be without their law degrees. “Capital has provided a legal education to so many,” he says. “In the bar of Ohio and beyond, there are a significant number of Capital University law grads.
“I’m just proud of everything that’s happening at the Law School.”