William & Mary Law School’s Class of 2015 wound up its Class Gift efforts in April with a record-breaking 92 percent participation rate. The previous record was 90 percent, held by the Class of 2014.
“This is truly remarkable news,” said Davison M. Douglas, dean of the Law School. “A 92 percent participation rate is stunning. This may well be the highest participation rate of any law school in the nation this year. It is a tremendous statement by our students about the quality of their experiences at William & Mary.”
Class gift co-chairs Brian Focarino, Claire Wheeler, and Peter Vogel knew they had their work cut out for them, but were confident they could reach their goal.
“It’s not difficult for almost everyone in the class to identify with one experience, student organization, team, clinic, journal, professor, or scholarship that made something possible for them,” Focarino said. “Many students are excited to learn that they can give back directly to specific things about the Law School that they value and that got them to where they are.”
Focarino said that conversations with fellow class members focused on the impact giving has in terms of people. “Who did you meet here? How did they change you? How would your experience have been different without them?” he asked“The majority of students attending William & Mary Law receive some kind of aid, and for many, that aid is the reason William & Mary ultimately made sense for them,” Focarino added. “Getting people to imagine William & Mary without the peers and professors that make it what it is helped us drill down to the real goals of the campaign.”
Knowing that fundraising also involves fun, the co-chairs knew they had to come up with something special to celebrate reaching their goal. Last year, Dean Douglas sacrificed his iconic two-decade-old mustache when the Class of 2014 reached 75 percent. This year, the dean offered to risk sitting in a dunk tank when the class reached 91 percent.
Thanks to some well-placed fastballs from 3Ls, the last day of classes ended with one soaking-wet dean, an inspiring class gift effort, and a triumphant class of graduating lawyers who truly care about their school.
"Having 92 percent of the graduating class feel the need to give back to William & Mary speaks not only to the school’s unique atmosphere of tradition and excellence, but also to its students’ sincere dedication to service,” Vogel said.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.