Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

November 16, 2010
Graduate Class Gift Campaign Launched; Alumna Offers $10K Matching Gift

This year, members of the graduating class have initiated a new program to support students following in their footsteps. The Graduate Class Gift is a great way for those embarking on the next stage of their legal career to make a gift to Southwestern in honor of their graduation, with proceeds benefitting Public Interest Grants (unless otherwise specified). Third-year evening student Kate Lawrence developed the program with Joan Bautista, Southwestern's Director of Institutional Advancement.

"This program is an excellent way to build on school pride and get students to start thinking about giving back during their last year of law school," said Lawrence, who previously served as Associate Director of Reunion Giving at her alma mater, Scripps College. "This is so important because statistics show that giving during that first year (after finishing school) turns it into a habit. The graduate class gift is a way to start the appreciation right now."

Lawrence said that students have appreciated their experiences at Southwestern and are eager to get involved. To this end, the Graduate Class Gift Committee has set a lofty goal - to get 100% of the graduating class to make a gift before Commencement in May - and those who make a gift of $100 have the opportunity to join the Dean's Circle at the Young Leader level. The Dean's Circle is normally reserved for donors who make gifts of $1,000 or more, but as a Young Leader, those students will have access to exclusive Dean's Circle networking events during the coming year. Other gift levels include the Graduate Year level (minimum gift of $20.11), and the Participation level (minimum gift of $1.00).

According to Jeffrey Harris '11, Chair of the Graduate Class Gift Campaign, "We wanted to leave a legacy and help support current students. And we are in great company because Southwestern has a strong tradition of giving."

A gift at any level is important and makes a difference. In fact, the true focus and goal of the Graduate Class Gift is participation. In addition, alumna Judith L. Jacobs '94 has offered a $10,000 matching gift - she will match any donation from a graduating student, even $1, with $100 toward Public Interest Grants, up to $10,000 (if a student decides to join at the Young Leader level, she will match it with $200).

"The Graduate Class Gift Committee has been the backbone of the program," Bautista said. "Without student support from the start, there would be no way of launching the program. Also, the $10,000 matching gift from Judi Jacobs has been a real driving force in increasing participation. Students are encouraged with a major backing like that, and she sets a great example for our students."

In just two weeks, the campaign has received over 30 donations, and 13 Young Leaders have contributed at least $100. The Committee is delighted to have already garnered nearly triple the initial goal of attaining five Young Leaders. "I hope the students gain a real understanding of why it is important to support the law school," Bautista said. "We want philanthropy to be a part of the culture and for our alums not to shy away from the conversation."

Click here to make a gift online (select "Graduate Class Gift" under Gift Designation). Students may also contact the Institutional Advancement Office to complete their gift over the phone or in person. Questions may be directed to the Institutional Advancement Office or any of the committee members listed below.
The 2011 Founding Graduate Class Gift Committee consists of Jeffrey L. Harris (Chair), Nicole Abboud, Dan Bald, John Begakis, Jane Cho*, Karla Cortez, Nick Francescon, Ashlee Hall*, Nate Harpham, Stephanie Herrick, Lynette M. Jones, Kat Khommarath*, Timothy La Follett, Calvin Lowery, Rachel Martin, Cameron Norris*, Stella Pogosyan, Sevag Shirvanian, Krystle Thompson and Shawna Wright. (*2012 Shadow - these students graduate in 2012)