Warner Collection Will Benefit Law School

March 30, 2009

Retired U.S. Sen. John W. Warner '53 recently auctioned off some of the items collected during more than four decades of public life, and will donate the proceeds to fund a scholarship at the Law School.

Sen. John Warner '53

Over a 42-year career, "you pick up an awful lot of stuff," Warner said of the items, which include plaques, framed photos, figurines and commemorative medallions.

"They were put in my office where people could see them — hundreds of thousands of people over the years," he said. "It was a privilege to serve as a senator, and I'm very grateful for all those items."

When Warner retired from the Senate after 30 years, he kept a few things, and his staff took some mementos. Rather than take the rest and "put it in a Dumpster," he said, the collection went on the auction block, with the proceeds going to fund a Law School scholarship.

"Sen. Warner has embodied throughout his career the ideals of service and character that the Law School seeks to instill in its students," said Dean Paul Mahoney. "I am very grateful for his generosity, which is directed at an area of particular need."

Warner, who said he has great affection for the Law School, first enrolled as a student in 1949, after serving in the Navy in World War II, but his studies were interrupted for two years when he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War.

"When I went back, the Law School just welcomed me with open arms," Warner said. "Within months I was able to get caught up."

"That really stuck with me. You never forget the people who stepped up and helped you."

After more than four decades in public service — secretary of the Navy, director of the U.S. bicentennial in 1976, five terms as a U.S. senator — Warner chose UVA in 2007 to announce his retirement from the Senate. In 2008, he received the second Thomas Jefferson Medal in Citizen Leadership, the highest external honor bestowed by the University. He's been a long-time generous benefactor of the Law School and of the University.

The auction, held March 21 in Northern Virginia, was a "smashing success," Warner said. "It was standing room only." He estimates that the net proceeds will be around $10,000.

All of the items, he added, "found nice homes," and he was amused to learn that a roll-top desk that once occupied a corner of his Senate office was bought by a UVA law student.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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