Class of 2016 Celebrates Record 93 Percent Gift Participation at Graduation

  • 2016 Class Gift Breaks Participation Record
    2016 Class Gift Breaks Participation Record  Leonard Simmons, Allison Davis, and Brett Tensfeldt thanked their class at commencement for helping break the record for participation in the 2016 Class Gift.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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For the third year in a row, Dean Davison M. Douglas took great pleasure introducing the 3L Class Gift co-chairs during graduation exercises at Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre. And with good reason.

Another  insurmountable class gift participation record had been broken.

“The Class Gift is one of the many opportunities that each year’s 3L class has to give back, in this case, to the school that provided us with the knowledge and skills we’ll use throughout our careers,” said class gift co-chair Allison Davis. “This year, 93 percent of the graduating 3L class participated in class gift, raising a total of $10,893.”

That participation total beats the previous, hard-fought record of 92 percent by the Class of 2015, which itself edged out the Class of 2014’s previous record of 90 percent.

For co-chair Lenny Simmons, the gift allows his classmates the opportunity to reflect on what made their time at the Law School meaningful, and to support those things that are important to them.

“Many of our students have donated to the scholarship funds to ensure that legal education remains available to everyone regardless of financial status,” Simmons told guests and fellow students. “Others supported our clinical programs so that we can continue to provide assistance to the community.”

Simmons added that regardless of what students chose to support through their gift, the Class of 2016 “has united in leaving a lasting legacy to the students who will follow in our footsteps.”

Given the success of the two previous class gift efforts, co-chair Brett Tensfeldt knew that he and his colleagues had their work cut out for them.

“When Allison, Lennie, and I sat down at the beginning of this semester to plan a path to 93 [percent] or better, we realized that this was going to be the largest graduating class from William & Mary Law School,” Tensfeldt said. “As somebody who’s almost a lawyer, I can tell you the logic stands that this was going to be the hardest thing ever.”

To great applause, the co-chairs thanked the more than 210 members of the class who gave or pledged, and then recognized their dedicated gift committee: Nassir Aboreden, Katey Ashley, Devin Bates, Erica Beacom, Mike Collett, Marc Cramer, Andrew DeVore,  Angela Diaz, Evan Feely, Gary Gee, Phil Giammona, Trace Hall, Kelly Johnson, Kendall Kemelek, Scott Krystiniak, Tommy Lukish, Georgia Maclean, Carrie Miller, Tyler Murray, Peter Rechter, Tyler Rosa, Shaina Salman, Lindsay Sfekus, Parisa Tabassian, Zeke Van Keuren, and Lauren Zitsch.

“That really is an extraordinary result,” Dean Douglas remarked. “I’m already hearing from last year’s class, whose record you broke; they’re kind of bummed out, but they’re congratulating you nevertheless.”

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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.