Before they received their law school diplomas on Sunday, May 11, Class of 2014 Gift co-chairs Alex Mackler J.D. ’14 and Kevin Elliker J.D. ’14 had one more duty to perform for friends and families sitting in the late afternoon sun at Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre.
And they got a huge ovation for it.
“We are pleased to announce that, with pledges coming in as recently as last night, the Class of 2014 gift participation rate sits at an all time record high of 90 percent,” Elliker said.
The previous record was 88 percent participation, held by the Class of 2001. Last fall, Mackler and Elliker knew they had their work cut out for them if they were going to get anywhere near that number.
“Each year, Dean Douglas offers several incentives to encourage participation among the 3L class for the class gift, including the opportunity to shave off the mustache he’s had…since he was in law school if the class reached 75 percent participation,” Mackler said. “Previous classes did not put the ’stache in danger.” (To watch the video of the shaving of the Dean’s mustache, click here.)
As friends and family could easily guess looking at the clean-shaven dean, the Class of 2014 met the 75 percent level and kept on going. Participation plateaued at 89 percent, but last-minute pledges right before Commencement nudged the total to the 90 percent mark.
According to Mackler, the pledges, which include pledges from faculty and family members, add up to $45,500. It’s crucial funding that enhances opportunities for future generations of law students and demonstrates how much the law school experience means to it graduates.
“This tremendous success was possible only because of the efforts of 22 dedicated co-chairs who persuaded, convinced, cajoled, bribed and otherwise threatened their friends and classmates to participate,” Elliker said with a smile.
Before leaving the stage, Mackler and Elliker asked the co-chairs to stand and be recognized. They included Yvonne Baker, Kristin Bergman, Beau Blumberg, Keith Buzby, Jenny Eaton, Joe Figueroa, Marko Hannanel, Liz Herron, Andrew King, Alex Lurie, Kayla McCann, Jeanne Noonan, Beth Petty, Adam Prestidge, Sean Radomski, Cassandra Roeder, Jackie Sandler, Eileen Setien, Paul Wolfgramm, and Peter Yagel.
“We’d also like to thank the nearly 200 graduates from the Class of 2014 who pledged to the Class Gift,” Elliker said to great applause.
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.