Supporting Students While Honoring a Teacher and Mentor

Bill Stuntz

Professor Bill Stuntz served on the UVA Law faculty from 1986-2000.

December 8, 2021

Ted ’92 and Keryn Mathas had been thinking about what they could do for the Law School for quite some time. Sharing in the school’s belief that it was important to attract high-caliber students who want to pursue careers in public policy, they realized a public service scholarship in honor of Bill Stuntz ’84 was the answer.

“Economic realities are working against students who want to go down this path,” Mathas said. “Three years of law school is expensive. And if you graduate with a large debt hanging over your head, it’s hard to ignore the allure of what the private sector can offer you.

“The William J. Stuntz Bicentennial Public Service Scholarship is aimed at eliminating that burden and making it easier for young men and women to follow their passion and engage in this important work for our society.”

Stuntz, a teacher and mentor to Mathas, died in 2011 at the age of 52. Stuntz taught law for 25 years—the first 14 at UVA, the last 11 at Harvard. “I always enjoyed Bill’s classes and took a number of them,” said Mathas. “But I really got to know him when he served as my Note Advisor. That experience gave me an up-close glimpse into the person he was.

“Scholarly work in public policy often gets reflexively tagged as ’liberal’ or ’conservative.’ And as everyone knows, Bill was conservative. And yet he gave us some of the most powerful, fact-based work passionately advocating for criminal justice reform.

“I was in awe of the intellectual integrity and raw objectivity he brought to his work. And he was never driven by self-interest,” Mathas attested. “He just wanted to do good work for the right reasons. That’s what he pushed me and countless others to do. I remember him once telling me that his chosen life work would never get his name etched on a wall, and that was totally cool with him because he felt really good about his work. That’s why Keryn and I decided to call this the Bill Stuntz Public Service Scholarship. We need more people to follow in his footsteps. And it may not be a wall, but now his name is deservingly etched on this scholarship.”

Mathas is chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company, the nation’s largest mutual life insurer. Their core business includes life insurance, retirement income, investment management, and long-term care insurance.


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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