Alumni Return, Reconnect, and Support Law School during Alumni Weekend
One weekend. Ten classes. A lifetime of memories.
That’s what alumni enjoyed as they returned to Williamsburg for this year’s Alumni Weekend at William & Mary Law School. Watch the slideshow.
More than 250 members of the 3 and 8 classes—1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013, and 2018—came back to catch up, meet current students and faculty, and reacquaint themselves with the revamped Law School.
The weekend officially began at noon on Friday, April 14 with the 50th Reunion Celebration, which recognized alumni from the Class of 1973 during a lunch with members of the Law School Alumni Association Board and the Marshall-Wythe School of Law Foundation Board. Class members were called to the stage to receive a legal legacy medallion, signifying their profound contribution to the legal community, and cementing their legacy at the Law School.
A subsequent event highlighted cutting-edge research at the Law School as Professor Jeffrey Bellin, Cabell Research Professor & Mills E. Godwin, Jr., Professor of Law, talked about his new book, “Mass Incarceration Nation: How the United States Became Addicted to Prisons and Jails and How it Can Recover” (Cambridge University Press).
Alumni were also invited to a Wolf Library Open House, during which they could explore the new George Wythe Room and the curated exhibit in Special Collections. And in a non-reunion event, alumni and friends came to the Law School to remember the late Professor John E. Donaldson, who passed away in September 2022.
In the evening, the Law School lobby was the setting for the traditional Alumni Welcome Reception, which allowed alumni and guests to reminisce and meet with current and emeritus faculty. Concurrently, the classes of 1973, 1978, and 1983 held private receptions at the homes of classmates.
On Saturday morning, Dean’s Council members were invited to attend a breakfast under the tent in front of the Law School. “Your generosity helps to ensure that we can continue to provide the best legal education for our students,” said Dean A. Benjamin Spencer, who hosted the event. “Also, it supports our professors in their efforts to produce groundbreaking research. And of course, your support helps us serve our community with excellence.”
Alumni got to sample some of the Law School’s work by choosing to attend one of two panel sessions. One panel featured Immigration Clinic Director Stacy Kern-Scheerer, Postgraduate Fellow Nicole Alanko ’18, and a student, as they discussed their vital work helping vulnerable populations from around the world find new homes in Hampton Roads. And in the McGlothlin Courtroom, alumni could watch the Moot Court team in action during a live demonstration.
Alumni and their families then enjoyed music and lawn games in front of the Law School, and afterward heard Dean Spencer deliver a “State of the Law School” talk and headline a Q&A session.
Midafternoon, the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) hosted a gathering of alumni to honor the legacy of Oliver Hill, a Richmond, Va., civil rights attorney who spent his career fighting to end racial discrimination, and announce this year’s Oliver Hill Scholarship winner, Helen Tariku ’24.
In the evening, Dean’s Council and Reunion Committee members, along with special guests, were invited to a cocktail reception at the Alumni House in recognition of their efforts for Alumni Weekend. Afterward, members of the reunion classes joined their classmates in the annual dinner, followed by the class bash outside the Alumni House.
During the weekend, classes celebrated class gifts and multiyear pledges in honor of their milestone reunions, with the Class of 1983 raising the most money at that time. As of the weekend, the classes had raised more than $3.5 million, and the overall giving total will continue to increase until the fiscal year ends on June 30.
Adding to the festivities was the announcement of the Red-Hot Reveley Award for Outstanding Class Participation. The Class of 1983 took the honors this year and also had the largest number of classmates come back for their reunion.
Dean Spencer shared his gratitude for the generosity and hard work of everyone at reunion, and for those who could not attend but who contributed to their class gifts, partnering with him in helping create a better law school experience.
“We're very proud of the achievements of our faculty and students who are making important contributions to the legal profession and to society,” Spencer said. “None of this would be possible without the support of donors like you.”
View the slideshow of Alumni Weekend 2023.
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.