While we’re part of a great university at the Law School, we live not in some remote ivory tower, but in the real world of law and justice. That’s always been true. Our “law-in-action” approach to teaching and learning has helped us, and our students, to focus on how the law works in practice, bringing to that study sophisticated analytical insight and cutting-edge research.
This issue tells several stories that show how many of our students, faculty, and graduates are living their commitment to justice. In it, you’ll read about how a group of our students responded to the police shooting of Tony Robinson with a community education project. You’ll meet Everett Mitchell ’10, who serves both as the UW’s director of community relations and as a pastor at Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church. He talked with us about the challenges of addressing racial justice in Madison. And you’ll learn about how Wendy Ward, a 2001 graduate of the Law School, came to (successfully) argue a pro bono case before the US Supreme Court. Our students and graduates, whatever their career choices, devote themselves to making the world a more just place. We’re very proud of them and of what they do with the life-changing education they receive here.
But they couldn’t do it without you. We remain committed to ensuring that students from all walks of life have access to a transformative UW Law School education, and that means we need to help them with scholarships. The university has just launched a comprehensive fundraising campaign, and at the Law School, our first priority for that campaign is scholarship support. Scholarships help us attract great students, keep their debt manageable, and support them on the path to exciting careers.
If you’re already giving to the Law School, thank you! You should find your name in the donor honor roll that is published in this issue. If we didn’t get your listing right (or if you should be there and you’re not), please let us know. We work hard to acknowledge your giving and let you know how much we appreciate it.
If you’re not giving, maybe some facts about our alumni support will be interesting to you. I often hear from our alumni about how much they love UW Law and value the education they received here, but the enthusiasm of our graduates does not align with our alumni giving percentage. Less than 7 percent of our graduates made a gift to the Law School last year, which is lower than many of our peers. As one example, more than half of law alumni at the University of Virginia — that’s 50 percent — participate in annual giving in any given year. We’d love to see that kind of committed participation from our graduates, and it would tell the world something very meaningful about how much you value your law school.
You may feel that unless you can make a large gift, your gift doesn’t have an impact. But that’s very clearly not the case. Last year, our median annual fund gift was $150. In the aggregate, we raised more than $720,000 to ensure that our students get a great educational experience. Gifts in any amount not only help our students; they also protect the continued quality and reputation of the Law School and thus sus- tain the value of your degree. I hope you’ll consider a gift at some point during the campaign. And if you’d like to think about a scholarship gift, let us know. You can be part of making the world a more just place — one law student at a time.
Dean Margaret Raymond