New scholarship honors former Elon Law administrator
The Eugenia H. Leggett-Frank Endowed Scholarship has been established in memory of a retired senior administrator whose dedication and commitment to Elon Law contributed to the innovative, vibrant school it is today.
A founding member of Elon Law’s senior administrative team will be remembered in perpetuity with a school scholarship that bears her name.
The Eugenia H. Leggett-Frank Endowed Scholarship honors Elon Law’s former associate dean of development, whose tireless support of the school from its founding in 2006 through 2014 made a profound impact on its hundreds of students, alumni, colleagues and friends. Leggett-Frank died May 7, 2016, following a sudden illness.
Established through a gift by Barry Frank, Eugenia’s husband, the new scholarship will be awarded to students enrolled in Elon’s groundbreaking legal residency program, which combines full-time legal apprenticeships with course work directly tied to the residency. During residencies, students gain in-depth exposure to legal practice in an area of their interest, experience working in a professional legal environment, and real-world application of principles learned in the classroom.
Donors may make a gift to the scholarship fund in memory of Eugenia Leggett-Frank at connect.elon.edu/supportelonlaw or by contacting Danny Gatling, assistant dean for development at Elon Law, at (336) 278-9209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barry Frank said Eugenia would have been delighted to know Elon Law students will be supported in their legal studies through this scholarship.
“Eugenia had a great love for Elon’s School of Law, and she particularly enjoyed working with students on how to excel as students, and then to really become the very best not only in their professional careers but in their public and private lives,” he said.
Eugenia Leggett-Frank was an only child who grew up on a farm in Henderson, North Carolina. When they noticed that educational opportunities were lacking, her parents, C.Y. Harris Jr. and Alice Jean Harris, enrolled her in St. Mary’s School in Raleigh. Leggett-Frank thrived in the academically rigorous environment.
And it was in this environment that Leggett-Frank developed a passion for helping others. “Her goal in life was to mentor young people,” said her mother, Alice Jean Harris. “Education was instilled in her from the day she was born. The first thing I ever remember her ever doing, as far as make believe, was playing school teacher - and making people behave!”
After graduating from the University of Virginia, Leggett-Frank briefly taught sixth grade in Henderson before a career opportunity in higher education fundraising opened up at what is now William Peace University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She would also work in development for Raleigh’s regional Girl Scouts council and for N.C. State University, from which she was ultimately recruited to help launch Elon Law.
“It all started with her parents saying, ‘We want you to get a higher and better education than the education that you would get here,’” Barry Frank said. “That’s what really spurred her to be a good student, to excel, and through both education and experience, to learn leadership and the importance of giving back. Better than anyone else I know, she could convince people doing well in life to give back to causes that will help younger people get an education.”
During her eight years at Elon Law, Leggett-Frank helped develop, coordinate, and promote the Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series presented by the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, and was a driving force behind the development of the law school’s Alumni Council, whose members provide valuable guidance and feedback to the school.
Her leadership was also critical to the launch of the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic, which enables students under the supervision of law faculty to provide free legal services to low-income refugees and asylum seekers in North Carolina. The clinic also has reunited several families separated by war in recent years, something Leggett-Frank would have proudly celebrated.
Many students considered Leggett-Frank a cherished mentor and friend whose enthusiasm lifted their spirits and inspired them to meet the many challenges of law school and launching a legal career.
“I’ve been with her on vacation and on weekends where she’d be on seven or eight phone calls from former students asking what she thinks they should do about school or their career,” Harris said. “Her door was always open.”
In addition to her husband and mother, Leggett-Frank is survived by her daughters, Lydia Leggett, a 2015 Elon University alumna; stepdaughters Kelly Phillips and Katie Springer; and six grandchildren. She was active in several community organizations, including the Carolina Theatre, the North Carolina Museum of Art, NC Theater, the Natural Science Center of Greensboro, and Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro.
Barry and Eugenia have been stalwart supporters of Elon Law, establishing the dean’s discretionary fund in 2014 to honor former Elon Law Dean George Johnson. They also made gifts along with the Stanley and Dorothy Frank Family Foundation, and Barry’s brother, William Frank, to create the Carole W. Bruce Endowed Scholarship in 2010. The scholarship recognizes a prominent local attorney and a valuable member of the Elon University School of Law Advisory Board.