Class of 2015 Celebrates Record 92 Percent Gift Participation at Graduation

  • 2015 Class Gift Breaks Participation Record
    2015 Class Gift Breaks Participation Record  Brian Focarino, Claire Wheeler, and Peter Vogel thanked their class at commencement for helping break the record for participation in the 2015 Class Gift.  Photo by Gretchen Bedell
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During William & Mary Law School’s diploma ceremony on Sunday, May 17, Dean Davison M. Douglas took great delight in announcing the results of the graduates’ efforts on behalf of their 3L Class Gift.

“I’m pleased to report that the Class of 2015 broke the all time Law School record for class participation, with 92 percent of the graduating class participating,” Douglas told the audience of parents, students, and friends.

The previous record was 90 percent participation, held by the Class of 2014.As promised, when the class made its goal Dean Douglas sat in the dunk tank on April 24 and risked getting soaked as students hurled softballs at the target.

“I think I can say with some confidence that is probably the highest percentage of participation of any law school in the United States,”  Douglas said. “I think it speaks volumes about the devotion of this class to their law school.”

Invited to the podium, class gift co-chairs Brian Focarino, Claire Wheeler, and Peter Vogel recounted how they set their sights high despite a daunting goal of more than 90 percent.

“When the idea of breaking that record was formulated last October, we all admit that we had our doubts,” Vogel said. “But the class of 2015 has always been a special class, and it proved itself to be far more dedicated to William & Mary than anyone could have imagined.”

In just a few short weeks after kicking off the campaign in March, 164 out of 179 members of the Class of 2015 donated or pledged a total of more than $18,000.

“This accomplishment could not have been possible without the hard work of our 3L Class Gift Committee,” Wheeler said. “But our real thanks goes out to all of you. Such a tremendous class gift participation rate not only effects the school’s national reputation and annual rankings, but speaks to the immeasurable amount of school pride and spirit this class has displayed since Day One of Law Week three years ago.”

Along with hard work came fun, and the co-chairs knew they had to orchestrate a special event to celebrate reaching their goal. In April 2014, Dean Douglas sacrificed his iconic two-decade-old mustache when the Class of 2014 reached 75 percent. This year, the dean offered to sit in a dunk tank on the last day of classes when the class reached 91 percent.

“Thank you to all of you who have demonstrated your appreciation of your legal education here,” Focarino said. “And congratulations on your tremendous accomplishment today.”

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.