Class of 2017 Sets New Records for Graduating Class Gift

With 58% of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Class of 2017 making at least one gift, the Class set a new record for participation in the Graduating Class Gift. They also set a new record for overall number of donors to the class gift (285) and Wigmore donors (146). Students’ gifts to the Law School supported the various Law School Fund designations including The Bluhm Legal Clinic, JD-MBA scholarships, Law School scholarships, the LLM Program, the LLM-Tax Program, the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, the MSL program, and the Pritzker Legal Research Center.

The success of the 2017 Graduating Class Gift (GCG) would not have been possible without the passion of the 2017 Graduating Class Gift Committee. A motivating factor for many members of the Class and Committee was gratitude, both for the Law School and for the contributions of alumni that made their Northwestern Law experience possible. As Co-Chair Colby Alexis noted, “From my scholarship, to the classroom experience, to the beginnings of my career, Northwestern has helped create opportunities for me every step along the way.” In this year when Northwestern Law broke into the top-ten law schools as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, students were also acutely aware of how their support for and involvement within the Northwestern Law community impacts the School’s future standing. In the words of GCG Co-Chair Matt Monahan, “the School’s reputation—built by past alumni—helped to open doors for me. So, where Northwestern goes, I go.”

Ultimately, it was the commitment, creativity, and inclusivity demonstrated by the Class of 2017 that made this year’s campaign a success. The Committee worked from August until April building awareness about the Class Gift, planning events and communications strategies, and cultivating a culture of giving among their peers. “People cared about the mission,” as Co-Chair Liani Balasuriya observed. “It’s important for alumni to give back in order to sustain and strengthen the community we are forever a part of.”

The Class of 2017’s historic Class Gift campaign comes on the heels the Class of 2016’s successful Class Gift. The Class of 2016 reached a new level of success for a Class Gift effort, achieving new records for participation, donors, Wigmore donors, and cash raised. The Class of 2016 still holds the record for cash raised ($13,848), but was bested by 2017 in the areas related to participation, donors, and Wigmores.

The Dean’s Challenge has been a defining feature of the Class Gift campaign since Dean Rodriguez and Professor Oster arrived at Northwestern Law. This year Dean Rodriguez and Professor Oster agreed to match 1:1 the first $10K in gifts to the Graduating Class Gift and their respective Law School Fund designations. The Class of 2017 secured the Dean’s Challenge gift surpassing their original goal of 56% and setting a new record for the campaign. As Director of the Master of Science in Law Program, Professor Oster finds a special significance in the GCG: “Supporting the Law School with financial contributions is a concrete connection, one that allows the graduate to maintain a stake in the institution, and to demonstrate ongoing commitment. This commitment sends a message to our new students that they are entering a tight-knit, vibrant, and caring community, and this is an important message to send, especially in the early years of a new program.”

As the success of the Class of 2016 helped motivate the Class of 2017’s record achievement, we are hopeful that future classes will likewise be inspired by the Class of 2017’s spirited philanthropy and continue a strong tradition for the Graduating Class Gift.