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School of Law

Law School programs benefit from recent gifts
Elon has received a $1 million gift from the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation of Greensboro, N.C., to name an annual leadership lecture series at Elon University School of Law.

The Joseph M. Bryan Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series opened in September with a program featuring former presidential adviser David Gergen, who serves as chair of the law school advisory board. Henry Frye, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and Aldona Wos, former U.S. ambassador to Estonia, were also featured during separate programs in the fall.

“Elon recognizes that leadership is a critically important skill for the next generation of lawyers,” says Jim Melvin, president of the Bryan Foundation. “This lecture series will bring nationally recognized leaders to Greensboro to share their stories with Elon students, faculty and the community, initiating important discussions about leadership and its role in the legal profession.”

The lecture series is an important component in the law school’s vision to create a curriculum that stresses leadership as a core value for aspiring lawyers. John Alexander, former president of the Center for Creative Leadership and Elon’s Isabella Cannon Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership in 2007-2008, is moderating the lecture series in its first year. Guests discuss their career and leadership experience with Alexander in a dialogue format before taking questions from the audience.

The spring 2008 schedule will include former North Carolina governor Jim Hunt; Bonnie McElveen Hunter, chair of the American Red Cross; and Melvin, who served as mayor of Greensboro from 1971 to 1981.

Joseph M. Bryan spent decades as a successful business and community leader in Greensboro, serving as senior vice president of Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Co. and as chairman of the board of Pilot Life Insurance Co. The Bryan Foundation invests in projects that promote economic, cultural and recreational enrichment in the Greensboro community.

A $250,000 estate gift through the Community Foundation of Greensboro will help establish a symposium series at Elon University School of Law on the unique legal issues facing family businesses.

The Symposium on Family and Closely Held Businesses will bring distinguished leaders in legal and business circles to Greensboro to explore the legal questions that often arise in the start up of family businesses or the passage of ownership to succeeding generations.

The symposium will also examine the challenges family businesses face in today’s global economy and the role of lawyers in creating and sustaining business opportunities and economic development.

Katherine Goodman Stern has made an additional $100,000 gift to fund the Sidney J. Stern, Jr. Endowed Scholarship at the School of Law. Stern and her daughter, Elon trustee Katherine Stern Weaver, established the scholarship in 2006 with an original gift of $100,000.

Sidney Stern was a longtime Greensboro, N.C., attorney and business, civic and religious leader. Recipients of the scholarship are known as Stern Legal Scholars, and are selected on the basis of integrity, intellect and leadership, qualities that defined Sidney Stern’s life and career.

Katherine Weaver is president of Residence Development Co., and is a trustee on several foundations. She and her husband, Greensboro philanthropist and business leader H. Michael Weaver, are generous supporters of the law school. The law school is housed in the H. Michael Weaver building in downtown Greensboro.

Michael Weaver serves as chairman and Katherine Weaver is a trustee of the Weaver Foundation, which has made a $100,000 gift to provide funding for The Center for Engaged Learning in the Law (CELL) at the law school. The Center will promote the national exchange of ideas and information between law school faculty about fresh, innovative approaches to teaching the law. Steve Friedland, senior scholar and professor of law at Elon, will direct the center.

“The Weaver Foundation’s generosity will have an enormous impact on our efforts to establish Elon as a leader of engaged learning in legal education,” says Leary Davis, dean of the law school. “Through this gift, the Weaver Foundation has demonstrated the kind of leadership we hope our students will emulate.”

Friedland says he plans for the center to include a national mentors program, which will bring nationally recognized leaders to the law school to work with students, and a blog where law teachers can share their best engaged learning practices. The center will also assist law professors by providing a clearinghouse to share course syllabi, exams and other materials, and provide specialized information to new law professors.