Supporting students at the Law School has been a decades-long collective effort for the Class of 1983.

Years ago, when members of the class reunion committee were on a call planning their gift, they considered funding a scholarship.

“One of the participants mentioned how much tuition was for the students just starting at the Law School. We were stunned by the dramatic increase since we had graduated,” said Terence P. Ross, one of the effort’s initiators. “We had been looking for a worthy project to target our reunion gifts toward, so I suggested perhaps we should consider giving toward a scholarship fund.

“I distinctly remember one of the other organizers, Bob Latham, noting that it would be the first time that the word ‘scholarship’ had ever been associated with the Class of 1983,” Ross added.

A consensus quickly formed around the idea and the class began fundraising. By their 20th reunion, the class had raised more than $347,000 for the Class of 1983 Scholarship.

That fall, the inaugural Class of 1983 Scholarship of $4,500 was awarded to a first-year student. “The goal had always been to provide support for three students – one in each current class attending the Law School – but it took us several years to build up to that aspiration, which we reached a few years ago,” Ross said. Since the first award in 2003, the scholarship has distributed more than $900,000 to 19 students. Last year, three law students were awarded more than $109,000 and the endowment stands at $3.1 million.

“The class continues to support the scholarship all these years later because it has become even more necessary over the years as tuition has continued to climb,” Ross said. “More recent classes looking for a fund-raising project should consider following the Class of 1983’s lead and creating their own scholarship as such funding is more important than ever.”

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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