Thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends, William & Mary Law School recently completed the most successful fundraising year in its history, receiving $8.27 million in Annual Fund contributions. For the twentieth year in a row, the Law School set a new Annual Fund record.
In the past two years, contributions to the Law School’s Annual Fund have more than tripled. This year’s success was driven in large measure by a $5.2 million gift.
“Private giving has become increasingly important to the Law School as state support has declined,” said Davison M. Douglas, dean of the Law School and Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law. “Private giving allows us to continue to strengthen the education that we offer our students and to keep tuition at an affordable level.”
The Law School’s Annual Fund contributions are cash gifts used each year for a variety of purposes such as student financial aid, support for student activities such as competition teams and law journals, and support for faculty research. Annual Fund dollars also support the Law School’s summer public service grants to students.
In addition to Annual Fund support, the Law School also received $1.7 million in contributions to new and existing endowments, primarily for student scholarships. The Law School also received $420,000 in Building Fund contributions, and $135,000 in in-kind contributions.
In all categories combined–Annual Fund, Endowment Gifts, Building Fund Gifts, and In-kind gifts–donors to the Law School contributed $10.5 million during the past year. Nearly one quarter of the Law School’s alumni made a gift during the past year.
Joining alumni, parents, and friends in supporting the School was the Class of 2017. Fully 92 percent of the class contributed to the 3L Class Gift in May, marking the fourth year in a row that 3L class gift participation exceeded 90 percent.
During graduation exercises, Class Gift Chair Maggie Burnside ’17 noted some of the many ways a donation to the Class Gift has an impact.
“It allows the Public Service Fund to grant one more stipend to a student who couldn’t otherwise afford to intern for a non-profit employer,” Burnside said. “It provides the funding for a group of inspired students to create a brand-new student organization; it allows students to continue to see their names published in nationally ranked journals; and it funds scholarships for future students to achieve their dreams of becoming a lawyer.”
Douglas said that a 90 percent participation rate is rare at any school, but reaching and surpassing it four years in a row is unheard of.
“It’s a real testament to the experience that the students had here, and their commitment to paying it forward to the next group of law students who follow them,” Douglas said. “Our recent graduates have really pulled out all the stops,” he added. “They clearly understand the role that private support played in their legal education. I am grateful for their generous support of the Law School.”
William & Mary faculty also continued playing their strong role in the Law School’s fundraising success, with 69 percent of the Law School’s full-time faculty contributing to the Annual Fund in 2016-17.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who chooses to cast a vote for William & Mary Law School through their generous support,” Douglas said. “This is a challenging time for legal education, but alumni and friends are greatly supporting our students and faculty, helping us maintain and expand upon the strongest position in our history.”
About William & Mary Law School
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.