Thursday, December 1, 2005

Gates public service scholarships at UW

[NEWS] Yesterday the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an extraordinary gift to the University of Washington School of Law: $33.3 million for full-ride scholarships over the next 80 years.

The gift honors Bill Gates's father, William H. Gates (UW Law School class of 1950), who turned 80 yesterday. The scholarship program begins with law students who enter next year. Each year five students will be awarded a scholarship covering tuition and living expenses for the three years of law school, with a commitment that the student spend seven years in public service after graduation.

Dean Knight announced the gift to the law school community in a brief meeting in the moot court room. I'm sure I was not the only one among the gathered students, staff, and faculty who was stunned and impressed by the gift.

Some years ago, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the lead gift in our building campaign, and the building is named William H. Gates Hall because of that. That generous gift was $12 million. This one is nearly three times as much -- and it's very exciting that it will go to students. The whole law school will benefit, because of speakers and other programs that will accompany the scholarship program. And in turn, the program will benefit the public because of the committed advocates who will go into public service.

William H. Gates has a long-standing commitment to public service. Among other things, in 1990 he led a Washington State Bar Association committee that declared access to justice to be the most pressing issue facing the state bar. Golden Gates, Equal Justice Magazine, Summer 2003.

Press coverage of yesterday's gift:

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