During this year’s Dean’s Council Dinner on Saturday, November 13, Denise W. Koch was invested as an honorary alumna of William & Mary Law School.
The recognition is given to select individuals for their extraordinary support and friendship to the Law School.
Denise Koch has been part of the Law School community since 1979 when her husband, the late Charles H. Koch, Jr., joined the faculty from the Federal Trade Commission. He served as an esteemed member of the William & Mary law faculty for 33 years before his death in 2012.
An educator by profession with a B.A. from Wake Forest University, M.A. from Old Dominion University and an M.B.A. from William & Mary, Mrs. Koch has taught Spanish at middle, high school and college levels. She taught Business Spanish at the Mason School of Business at William & Mary and has taught a Spanish for Lawyers class at the Law School.
Koch and her son, Andrew, created the annual Koch Administrative Law Forum in honor of her late husband. She has also created the Koch Endowment, which provides Koch Summer International Scholarships to law students.
Koch has been a remarkable friend to many people in the community, and, among other things, has served as a community volunteer in several capacities, including the Board of Olde Towne Medical Center and as a member of the Williamsburg-James City County School Board from 2004–2011, serving as Vice-chair and Chair. She has served on the board of directors and currently serves as co-chair of the expansion committee of the Heritage Humane Society, and has served on the board of the Williamsburg Community Scholarship Fund.
During the Dean’s Council Dinner, Dean Spencer shared congratulations from several members of the Law School faculty. Koch accepted her certificate in the presence of her son, Andrew, and his wife, Ria.
Dean Emeritus Dave Douglas lauded Koch’s service to the Law School as an adjunct professor, teaching law students who wanted to improve their Spanish skills for their future practices. He noted that her interest in the Center for Comparative Legal Studies & Post-Conflict Peacebuilding has created many opportunities for students to engage in public service work around the world.
Professor Christie Warren said that Koch’s “contributions to the Center [for Comparative Legal Studies & Post-Conflict Peacebuilding] and to the international internship program have enabled many of our students to learn firsthand about the struggles of people recovering from conflict and seeking better lives. Through your work, Charles’ vision and values have lived on.”
Professor Allison Orr Larsen recounted how Denise Koch and her husband were “the unofficial welcome wagon” when she joined the faculty, and considers her “a role model” who “nurtures friendships,” “never shies from an adventure,” and “constantly is thinking of ways to improve her community.”
And Professor Emeritus Jayne Barnard referred to her good friend as “a whirlwind of service, initiative, an indefatigable will, and possesses a true commitment to the causes she believes in.”
In addition to welcoming Mrs. Koch as an alumna, Dean Spencer thanked everyone in the room for their partnership in excellence.
“I am grateful to each of you for giving at the Dean’s Council level,” Spencer said. “The Law School is fortunate to be shown such extraordinary generosity. It would have been impossible to meet the challenges of the past year without your support and encouragement. Thank you.”
About the Dean’s Council
Dean's Council recognizes the generosity of gifts of $2,500 or more. Alumni who graduated in the previous four years may join Dean’s Council for a gift of $1,000 or more; alumni who graduated in the previous five to seven years may join Dean’s Council for a gift of $1,500 or more; and alumni who graduated in the previous eight or nine years may join for a gift of $2,000 or more.
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 first law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.