We completed another very successful fundraising year June 30. Thanks to the support of alumni, friends, law firms, faculty, staff and students, we received gifts and new pledges totaling more than $7.6 million, making this the third-best fundraising year in school history. In addition to our overall success, we set an all-time record with giving to our Annual Fund, raising nearly $1.62 million in unrestricted gifts. The Annual Fund is particularly important to Vanderbilt Law School because we have a relatively modest endowment. Your growing contributions have helped us to remain competitive in recruiting both students and faculty, and have given us greater flexibility to innovate in our curriculum and programs. Our outstanding result is the collective achievement of more than 300 volunteers, and the Annual Fund in particular was boosted by our successful first Giving Day in April.
Thanks to increasing investments in the school in recent years, we have been able to achieve two important priorities: reducing student indebtedness and attracting the kind of academically gifted, hardworking and collegial students who have become our hallmark. New gifts for scholarships again exceeded seven figures last year and included endowed funds established by the Class of 1990, in honor of Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey ’68 (BA’64), and in memory of Helen Strong Curry. Les Payne ’92, Kathy Gelfand ’88 and David Gelfand ’87 (BA’84) also created new named scholarship funds.
Gifts from alumni and friends had a powerful positive impact on our already strong international law faculty and our International Legal Studies Program. Thanks in part to the Enterprise Faculty Fund, the law school recruited a rising star, Professor Tim Meyer, who specializes in international business, public international law, energy and trade. Meanwhile Professor Ingrid Wuerth, who directs the International Legal Studies Program, became the inaugural holder of the Helen Strong Curry Chair in International Law, thanks to a gift from the estate of Jean Curry Allen (BA’44), which endowed the new chair and funded the scholarship mentioned above, supporting students interested in international law.
In the years ahead, we will continue to set ambitious goals to grow our endowment. A more robust endowment will give the law school additional resources to deliver the best education to our students and help us build a yet stronger faculty, and will give us the wherewithal to pursue bold innovations in both our curriculum and programming.
Investing in us through giving, from small gifts to big ones, makes a difference, but we also owe much of our success to the time and energy our alumni and friends contribute each year. I want to express my sincere thanks to the hundreds of you this past year who interviewed applicants, hosted alumni gatherings, hired our students and graduates, taught on our adjunct faculty, gave lectures and participated in classroom panels, and advised and mentored our students. We are immensely grateful to have such a robust and dedicated network of alumni.
I enjoyed seeing those of you whose class years end in 1 or 6 who attended Reunion 2016. We had a great time, starting with the all-class cocktail reception on Friday, Oct. 21. Dean Chris Guthrie hosted a brunch and state-of-the-school address on Saturday morning, and alumni reconnected at individual class parties Saturday evening. I hope to see those of you whose class years end in 2 or 7 here next year!
Thank you for all that you do to ensure that the law school continues to thrive.
Scotty Mann, J.D.
Associate Dean, Development
and Alumni Relations