There may never have been a more promising or more vulnerable time at the University of Texas School of Law. Promising, because we are bursting with talent, ideas, and wonderfully constructive projects. Vulnerable, because our state funding has dwindled to the vanishing point, and in an extraordinarily competitive era for both faculty and students, we have half the tuition and half the endowment per student of our peer schools. We need to transform the culture of giving at the Law School to take account of our situation; if we fail, we will fail to sustain our quality, our stature and our promise. There is no more important element in our culture of giving than the Annual Fund, which provides our most reliable source of unrestricted money and which can be used to address the most promising ideas and the most pressing needs…
I am fond of observing that The University of Texas School of Law is a community of ideas and constructive projects. If you have read my letters (some rather lengthy, I admit) you know about all that is happening at your law school—a new Center in Energy, the Environment and International Arbitration; a new Center for Women in Law; a new program in Law, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; exciting progress in establishing a joint degree program with Mexico’s premier law schools; public interest initiatives, including a now-launched Loan Repayment Assistance Program for our graduates who choose careers in public interest law and the creation of a Justice Corps, which will underwrite the aspirations of our public interest-minded graduates for two years of field work and then bring them back to us as teachers and mentors.
I hope this sampler convinces you that we have ideas and projects in abundance. But emphasis needs to be placed on community as well. There is no price for admission to our community. But we are truly all in this together. If you care about our capacity to attract the best and the brightest students and to prepare them for the complex and demanding world they will face…if you care about our capacity to attract the best and the brightest faculty and to set them loose on the problems of our day…if you care about our sustained reputation for genuine excellence and our capacity to serve our State and Nation…then there has never been a time in which it is more important to act upon your concerns by supporting the School. A legal education—particularly one from UT Law—serves as a mighty engine of change, affecting for good the individual, our communities, our society, and indeed the world. This is something worth safeguarding, nurturing, and helping to flourish.
Over the course of the next several years, we will mount an ambitious capital campaign, under the very apt banner, Seize the Day. We will need your help throughout the campaign, and I cannot overstate the importance of annual giving to the success of the campaign. To secure UT Law’s future, we need to work over the next several years to broaden the base and increase the level of support among our alumni. There is no better way to start than by contributing to this year’s Annual Fund.