The Georgetown University Law Center announced a record-breaking $56 million in donations over the past year, marking the highest amount in gifts received by the school.
The donations will help to finance scholarship programs, expand teaching and professional opportunities and upgrade Law Center facilities. The school previously recorded its largest amount of donations and gifts in 2019 when it received $40 million in fundraising.
Even with the transition to virtual fundraising events due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were still motivated to support the school, according to William Treanor, dean of the Law Center.
“When the pandemic started we quickly pivoted to all virtual programming,” Treanor wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We had over 61,000 people participate in our programming during the year, which was extraordinary.”
The successful year of fundraising will have an impact on all aspects of the Law Center, including subsidizing faculty positions, campus facility upgrades and scholarship funding, according to Treanor.
As part of the Law Center’s fundraising efforts, the school launched several initiatives. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, the Law Center launched a special campaign to secure 150 gifts of $150,000 or more, which closed on July 1, 2021 after exceeding its goal by securing 155 gifts.
Included in the past year’s donations is the school’s largest gift to date, a $24.5 million contribution from the estate of Agnes Williams (LAW ’54), who graduated in the first class of Georgetown Law which included women and was a past member of the Law Center Board of Directors. The gift will fund the Agnes Williams Sesquicentennial Professorships, an endowment that will allow Georgetown Law to hire and retain outstanding professors.
Frequent donors Timothy O’Neill (LAW ’77), who serves as Vice Chair for of the Board of Directors, and Linda O’Neill (NHS ’77), who is a member of the Board of Regents, donated another $10 million gift to establish the Center for Transformational Health Law, which focuses on the legal and policy impact of the COVID-19. The Center is housed within the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, which was founded in 2007.
The donation will allow the O’Neill Institute to continue research and engage with health issues, according to Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95).
“On behalf of Georgetown, I wish to express our deep appreciation for the generosity and leadership of Agnes Williams and Tim and Linda O’Neill — who have each enabled us to deepen the context for our faculty to pursue groundbreaking research and scholarship and contribute to advancing justice in our world,” DeGioia wrote in a press release.
Another important focus of fundraising over the past year has been raising money to support student scholarships and financial aid at the Law Center, according to Treanor. Over the past year, the school’s annual fund, which distributes aid to students through a range of programs, received $8.2 million in donations.
The Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides aid to students who otherwise might not have been able to attend Georgetown, received significant donations, according to Gene Finn, assistant dean for development and alumni affairs and one of the coordinators for the Opportunity Scholarship campaign.
“The Opportunity Scholarship program has been a high priority for Dean Treanor because it allows outstanding students to attend Georgetown Law who, without the financial aid, may not have been able to be here,” Finn wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Our alumni have been very excited to support the program and to meet the students who benefit from their philanthropy.”
The Opportunity Scholarship program, which currently has 110 participants, began six years ago and has raised $22 million to support high-need and high-merit students at Georgetown Law.
The large amount of donations represents Law Center graduates’ commitment to supporting students, according to Treanor.
“Our alumni responded with their typical generous spirit and helped us meet the needs of these students,” Treanor wrote.