Elon Law celebrates major milestones
Marking the school's first five years and the achievement of full approval from the American Bar Association, a broad spectrum of the Elon Law community came together for an evening of celebration on Oct. 6. Links to a special report and slideshow about the school's first five years are included with this article.
National, state and regional leaders in business and public life joined the senior leadership of the university and members of Elon Law’s advisory board, faculty, alumni association and student body to reflect on the law school’s milestones and achievements since its founding in 2006.
Law school dean George R. Johnson, Jr. welcomed more than 200 people attending the celebration at the Greensboro Country Club, three miles from the law school in downtown Greensboro, N.C.
“You have been a tremendous part if this great success we all experience,” Johnson said. “I have never known a community that has rallied around the founding of a law school in the way that Greensboro has rallied around Elon.”
Leo M. Lambert, president of Elon University, expressed gratitude to the law school’s many supporters and described the impact of their investments in Elon.
“When I think about why I get up every morning and go to work, it is to prepare better leaders for this country. That is what we do at Elon,” Lambert said. “I believe passionately and fervently that what our university does is prepare citizens that the world desperately needs right now, and that is what is happening especially at Elon Law. This is a place that is turning out lawyers that our going to make a difference in the world. I promise you that. You have invested in a great institution.”
Jim Melvin, an early and pivotal supporter of Elon Law, president of The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation of Greater Greensboro and former Greensboro mayor noted the law school was part of a string of significant advances for Greensboro spurred by public private partnerships.
“This is a great victory. This project, this law school, will pay dividends for our community forever, and it will grow and lots of other good things will happen,” Melvin said, noting that Elon law students contribute significantly to the vitality of downtown Greensboro.
Melvin acknowledged founding donors to the law school who made it possible to create Elon Law’s $10 million state-of-the-art facility in downtown Greensboro. He also reflected on comments made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice (ret.) Sandra Day O’Connor at the dedication of Elon Law in September 2006.
“Sandra Day O’Connor said she had been in over 100 law schools, and she said this was the best building she had seen especially for law, and so that is a wonderful tribute to you,” Melvin said. “If you look at Elon University, and all the things that they do, as my friend Bobby Long here says - A plus, plus - everything Elon does is A plus, plus.“
David Gergen, the chair of Elon Law’s national advisory board, former adviser to four U.S. presidents, and CNN senior political analyst, recognized Leary Davis, founding dean and professor of law emeritus, George Johnson, the school’s current dean and professor of law, and the faculty, advisory board and students of Elon Law for their contributions to the early achievements of the school. Gergen also thanked members of the legal community who have contributed to the education of Elon law students.
“There are so many people in this community here in Greensboro who became preceptors for the students and spent hour after hour with these students and gave them something unique in legal education, and that is somebody who cares, who looks after them and wants them to succeed as human beings,” Gergen said.
Gergen encouraged the entire Elon Law community to continue advancing the school’s vision to make a difference in legal education, law and society.
“We had a mountain top there in front of us, and after five years we have reached that mountain top – we have gained accreditation – and that is an enormous blessing for this university for this law school,” Gergen said. ”But when you climb mountains what you often find is … there are more mountains out there that are taller than the ones you have just climbed, and what you have got to do is keep climbing.”
Gergen and Johnson then announced several significant gifts made to the law school, including a $100,000 anonymous donation designated for use at the discretion of the dean for the advancement of Elon Law, and news of contributions by 100 percent of Elon Law’s faculty and staff for the third consecutive year to the law school’s annual fund.
“I don’t know of a greater indication of the enormous appreciation that the folks around Elon have for the work that they do and for the opportunities to serve that this law school provides for us,” Johnson said.
Additional gifts announced include:
- a gift of Gail Drew Lane and Beau Lane of $80,000, marking the renewal and an increase in funding for Lane Annual Scholarships;
- $105,000 in gifts provided for the operation of Elon Law’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic, including a $30,000 gift by The Cemala Foundation, a $45,000 gift by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, and a $30,000 gift by the Tannenbaum Sternberger Foundation;
- a gift of Katherine and Mike Weaver of $50,000 for the Sidney J. Stern Scholarship fund;
- an in-kind gift of the Lincoln Financial Group Capital Fund.
“This is an evening not just to congratulate ourselves, not even principally to congratulate ourselves, but to express our great gratitude to you for the support that you have given us,” Johnson said. “When you look around this room, and all around this room, there is nothing but great support. I can throw a dart at any place here, and it will land on someone who has done something very, very tangible to get the law school to this point in its history, and we thank you very, very much for that.”
Click here to view a special report on Elon Law’s first five years.
Click here for a slideshow highlighting milestones of Elon Law and key commentary about the school’s vision, mission and achievements across its first five years.