It has been a joy this fall to return to visiting some of the thousands of UVA Law alumni and friends spread across the country. Stops have included Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. I look forward to seeing even more of you as far as Florida and Texas this winter and spring. The enormous pride and pleasure I take in the reach of our alumni network is magnified by the privilege of meeting you in person.
In my travels, I frequently speak with alumni about what changes here at the Law School. The essentials of a UVA Law education remain unaltered: We continue to value intellectual rigor and the free exchange of ideas within a close-knit and collegial community. We also continue to prepare graduates for a lifetime of professional success, public service and leadership. What has changed is who has access to that education. Who can become a UVA lawyer has expanded dramatically over the course of our 200-year history. Likewise, the amount and types of support we provide students has grown immensely.
There is perhaps no better example of how we perpetually strive to become the best version of ourselves than our new Roadmap Scholars Initiative. This two-year program helps talented first-generation and low-income college students chart their course to elite law schools and beyond. It introduces these promising future lawyers to the law and the legal profession, and provides the financial, academic and mentoring support they need to succeed in both applying to and attending law school. Our cover story describes this best-in-class program and profiles many of the terrific students in the first cohort we welcomed to Charlottesville in June.
The Roadmap program is one of the many ways we are expanding access to UVA Law and the legal profession. We have also increased funding for scholarships, summer and postgraduate fellowships, and loan forgiveness. The wrap-around support we provide our Roadmap Scholars parallels what we offer every UVA Law student, which includes financial aid counseling that begins at admission and includes budgeting and other financial planning skills; personalized career counseling that extends past graduation as recent alumni seek career changes; and co-curricular programming from leadership training to academic support to faculty, peer and alumni mentoring. Together with our unique intellectual community and extraordinary faculty, this support both facilitates an unparalleled student experience and helps transform our students into exceptional lawyers.
The hallmarks of both our singular student experience and our scholarly excellence are in full view in this issue of UVA Lawyer. You will meet Associate Professor Alison Gocke, an expert in energy and environmental law, who joined us this fall along with Elizabeth Rowe and Amanda Frost (profiled in the spring issue). You will read about the new Center for Empirical Studies in Law, a record-setting 1L class, recent successes in several of our 24 clinics, four consecutive years of more than 100 clerkship placements, and myriad other student, faculty and alumni achievements.
As always, we owe our successes to you, our alumni and friends, wherever in the world your careers and lives have taken you. The UVA Law community begins on our Grounds, but you carry it with you when you graduate, and you bring the world back to us when you return. Thank you for the countless ways you support our institution, and for making it possible for a new generation of UVA Law students to flourish and succeed here and everywhere.