Endowing the future
New endowments at UND Law strengthen school, benefit students
When David Stowman, former chair of the Minnesota Board of Public Defense, visited with younger lawyers, he became increasingly aware of how difficult it is to recruit new public defense attorneys.
That’s because many new law graduates, even though they might want to enter the public sector, need higher paying jobs to cover student loans.
“I realized how much different economic conditions are today,” said the 1972 UND Law graduate and former president of the Minnesota State Bar Association. “I became acutely aware what an economic burden this is.”
And even though UND has one of the most affordable law programs in the country, the cost of earning a law degree has increased.
That’s why Stowman, who has continually advocated for funding the public defender system and who received the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, decided to endow a UND Law scholarship fund along with his wife, Judith.
“I felt good about the UND law school and my education,” Stowman said. “I wanted others to share in the same experience. The endowment will lessen the economic burden for students.”
That scholarship fund is one of several recent new endowments that will help UND Law students and help UND attract the best and brightest.
George Schubert wanted to ensure that the memory of his wife, Arline, lives on. His endowment will fund the Arline Schubert Study Room in the UND law library, which will be dedicated March 29. It will also fund the study of sports law.
“I wanted to honor Arline,” said Schubert, who served UND for 50 years, and taught in communication disorders and also served as dean of the former University College & Summer Sessions. “She began law school at age 40, and then taught business and sports law in the College of Business & Public Administration and English at UND, as well as practiced law. Both our daughters are law graduates, and I wanted to do something in her memory that would last.”
Longtime donor Jack Marcil took advantage of the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund, which, for every $2 given by a donor, matches it with another dollar.
“I attribute much of my success to my education at UND,” said Marcil, who is known as a “lawyer’s lawyer.” He received the Distinguished Service Award from the State Bar of North Dakota in 2007, a distinguished service and lifetime achievement award from the U.S. Court of Appeals, and multiple other awards. A trial attorney since 1969, he specializes in arbitration and mediation.
“Supporting UND is one of my priorities,” Marcil said. “Getting a law degree opened so many doors. It’s important to give back. It’s a matter of trying to make the profession better.”
Best and brightest
The new endowments showcase the strength and reputation of UND Law, said Nick Jensen, development director for the School of Law at the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.
“These endowments and scholarships have an impact that will be felt forever,” Jensen said. “Year after year, students benefit.”
The state benefits too, Jensen said, noting that 80 percent of North Dakota judges trained at UND Law, and 75 percent of the attorneys in the state graduated from North Dakota. Of the five state Supreme Court justices, four are UND Law alumni.
“The quality of students determines the quality of attorneys and judges in North Dakota,” said Jensen. “Scholarships attract the best and brightest, who will hopefully stay and practice in North Dakota. We want them to be members of the bench and bar in North Dakota instead of elsewhere.”
UND law alums uniformly talk about the quality of education they receive, as well as the comraderie that is a hallmark of the law school.
“That’s not something you see at other schools,” said Jensen. “Attorneys practice together in North Dakota. They know people, build deep relationships, and have built-in networks as they move forward.”
That’s why these new endowments are so important.
“Without scholarships, many students can’t achieve their dream of being attorneys,” Jensen said.
“Endowments like these help keep legal education affordable for our students, while allowing us to offer the same kind of student opportunities as higher-priced law schools,” said Kathryn Rand, dean of the School of Law. “Because endowments exist in perpetuity, the law school can count on these funds year after year in recruiting students and building programs. Students who are awarded scholarships tell us how meaningful it is for them to have a donor who believes in their potential. They work even harder to earn the respect of the donor who has helped fund their dream of becoming a lawyer.”