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Vanderbilt University Law School Donor Report (Spring 2010)

Investing in Students

Scholarships have a lasting and positive impact on Vanderbilt's ability to attract top students.
Cornelia A. Clark '79, Gilbert S. Merritt Jr. '60, and Victor S. Johnson III '74

Hugh Morgan, Class of 1956, and Palmer Harston, Class of 2012, who holds the Hugh Jackson Morgan Scholarship

Palmer Harston chose the career track she hopes to pursue—adoption law— because of her longstanding commitment to helping children with special needs. After Harston earns her J.D. in 2012, she plans to help parents who want to adopt children from other countries. "International adoption is a really difficult process because adoption laws in various countries don't match up," Harston said. "There aren't enough people in the field to help all of the parents who want to pursue an international adoption through the process."

Harston, who earned her undergraduate degree as a Vanderbilt Ingram Scholar, understands exactly how important access to the right resources can be to children facing serious health issues...

2010 Distinguished Alumnus: Mark Dalton '75

Vanderbilt University trustee Mark Dalton discovered his interest in the intersection of law and finance at Vanderbilt.
Mark Dalton '75

As a senior at Denison University in 1972, Mark Dalton received a phone call from John Beasley, then Vanderbilt Law School's associate dean, inviting him to interview for a prestigious Patrick Wilson Scholarship at Vanderbilt Law School. Dalton, who grew up in suburban Detroit, Michigan, and Dayton, Ohio, had planned to remain in the Midwest for law school. But he joined 14 other prospective students in Nashville for a weekend of interviews and activities out of curiosity about Vanderbilt and the unique scholarship, which was designed to attract students with strong leadership potential and included a formal mentoring program along with full tuition and a stipend for living expenses. After meeting Beasley, scholarship benefactor Pat Wilson, and Reber Boult, Matt Dobson and Charles Cornelius, members of the committee that selected Patrick Wilson Scholars, he recalled, "I came away thinking Vanderbilt was a special place."

When Dalton was offered one of the coveted scholarships, he accepted. Today...

Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, Class of 1968, honored with Vanderbilt Law School's Distinguished Service Award

Vanderbilt Law School's fifteenth dean, Chris Guthrie, believes the school's best days are ahead.
Distinguished Service Award winner Cissy Daughtrey '68 was introduced by Aleta Trauger '76

At the Founders Circle Dinner in April, Judge Daughtrey was presented with the Distinguished Service Award.

Judge Martha Craig "Cissy" Daughtrey's career reflects a series of "firsts." After earning her J.D. at Vanderbilt in 1968, she became the first woman Assistant U.S. Attorney, hired by then-U.S. Attorney Gilbert S. Merritt Jr., Class of 1960, and the first female prosecutor in Tennessee. When she and Merritt left the U.S. Attorney's office after newly elected President Richard Nixon replaced Merritt with a Republican appointee in 1969, Daughtrey joined the Davidson County District Attorney's Office.

These firsts, Judge Daughtrey told an audience at the Founders Circle Dinner on April 8, "were attributable mostly to the fact that Tennessee was so behind other places in terms of women's progress in the professions. When I came to Vanderbilt in 1963, I had never laid eyes on a woman lawyer...

Adams and Reese's Gif Thornton issues a firm challenge

Gif Thornton '90

Gif Thornton, Class of 1990, was eating lunch with a group of fellow 1Ls early in fall 1987 when the truth came out: Thornton, who also earned his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt, had worked for three years before starting law school. "Everyone else at the table was 22," he recalled. When Thornton confessed to the ripe old age of 25, classmate Andrew Campbell gasped, "Wow, you're a fossil!"

"I understand that older students with work experience are very common at Vanderbilt now, but I was definitely the exception in my class," Thornton laughed. However, his work experience as a special assistant to Ambassador Joe M. Rodgers at the U.S. Embassy in Paris and as assistant to the Republican Leader of the Tennessee House of Representatives kindled an interest in government relations and public policy that added a rich perspective to his...