Reunion classes, from the Class of 2013’s fifth reunion to the Class of 1968’s 50th reunion, descended on Williamsburg on April 13-14. Each group was primed to celebrate in the beautiful spring weather and more than willing to provide financial support essential to the Law School’s success.
As of Saturday evening, April 14, the 10 reunion classes had raised more than $6.4 million in gifts and multi-year pledges in support of William & Mary Law School. That number will continue to grow before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
“Our reunion classes were exceptionally generous to the Law School,” said Dean Davison M. Douglas. “The previous reunion giving record, set in 2016, was $5.9 million; by the time all is said and done, we may hit $7 million in reunion giving this year.”
For the second consecutive year, the 50th Reunion Class took home the Red-Hot Reveley Award for Outstanding Class Participation. Sixty-one percent of the Class of 1968 made a financial commitment in honor of their reunion.
The Class of 1983 also had plenty to cheer about, setting a new record for a 35th Year Reunion Class Gift raising over $2.6 million. The class also holds the record for giving at the 20th, 25th and 30th reunions. The class of 2007 holds the record for the 5th and 10th reunions. No other class holds more than one current reunion record.
The Class of ’73 also set a 45 year reunion record with over $1.58 million raised as of the Saturday evening celebration.
Friday afternoon saw two commemorative events at the Law School, the first being the dedication of the Donor Wall in the lobby which recognizes cumulative lifetime giving of $100,000 or more. President and former law dean Taylor Reveley was on hand to help celebrate the names of the school’s top donors and to honor Jim Penney ’83 and his wife, LauraLeigh Young, for their $1 million gift to the Law School. The couple’s generous gift will support the newly created James A. Penney and LauraLeigh Young Scholarship in Law Endowment and the Class of 1983 William B. Spong Jr. Scholarship in Law Endowment. The gift will provide tuition support for generations of law students. In recognition of the couple’s commitment, the courtroom in the Hixon Center for Experiential Learning and Leadership will be named the James A. Penney and LauraLeigh Young Courtroom.
Later that afternoon, alumni, faculty and administrators gathered to witness the unveiling of a striking portrait of Professor Emerita Jayne Barnard, who retired in 2015 and is now serving as coordinator of academic events and chair of the planning committee for William & Mary’s celebration of 100 Years of Women.
Saturday morning featured traditional activities, including golf at the Kingsmill Resort Woods Course, brunch at the Wren Building for the Classes of 1973 and 1978, and a walking tour of Colonial Williamsburg.
For the second year, the Law School hosted a Brunch for the 50th Reunion and previous classes. Held in the historic Great Hall of the Wren Building, the event honors Dudley Woodbridge, legendary Dean of the Law School from 1950-62.
During the proceedings, alumni were officially inducted into The Order of Marshall-Wythe, the Law School’s newest society of distinguished alumni. From now on, the 50th Reunion class and all members of prior classes will become members of The Order of Marshall-Wythe during Alumni Weekend.
Among the other activities were a guided tour around Lake Matoaka in honor of Professor John Levy, who passed away in 2017, and the annual family picnic in front of the Law School. The College’s Griffin mascot delighted children of alumni, and Bubbles the Clown painted their faces with exotic designs and handed out balloon animals.
Dean Douglas held his annual “Conversation” on Saturday afternoon, during which alumni learned about the latest happenings at the Law School and about the state of law education in general.
On Saturday night, the festivities capped off with classes reuniting at Kingsmill Resort for a cocktail reception, dinner, after-dinner reception, dancing, and announcements of class gifts. The Class of 1983 held its own dinner and reception in the historical ambiance of Providence Hall House in Colonial Williamsburg.
With so much to do, reunion weekends go by swiftly, and it won’t be long before excitement builds for the next Alumni Weekend. Reunions for the classes of 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014 will be held on April 12-13, 2019, so mark your calendars now!
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.