Giving from the Heart
Giving from the Heart:
Scholarships and Memorials in Support of Our Students
Giving from the Heart:
Scholarships and Memorials in Support of Our Students

For more than 20 years, Derrick A. Deck has been an avid environmentalist. He first became interested in studying the environment—and its impact on people—as a freshman in high school.

The Lawton scholarship was the most significant contribution to my future thus far at John Marshall, yet it is but one of the immeasurable opportunities available to me on my JMLS path to becoming a practice-ready attorney.
Derrick A. Deck
Now in law school, he hopes to combine his passion for the law with his concern for the environment and create global legal change.

How appropriate, then, that he would be awarded the Samuel T. Lawton Jr. Memorial Scholarship, which was established in memory of a longtime John Marshall professor whose work focused on environmental and local government law.

“Receiving the Lawton Scholarship meant the world to me,” Deck said. “It will assist me not only in securing my JD, but also in taking courses I might have had to otherwise forgo due to financial concerns.”

of our applicants
have financial needs

With the aid of scholarship funding, students like Deck are freed to focus on their studies full time and pursue their dreams without the burden of debt repayment. But scholarships aren’t only meaningful to their recipients. They offer alumni an opportunity to give back to John Marshall, and they help to build meaningful relationships between alumni, the school, and current students.

Keeping Memories Alive

For families like the Lawtons, memorial scholarships are a means to ensure that the life’s work of a loved one lives on for generations. First established by the late Mary Lawton in loving memory of her husband, a John Marshall faculty member for nearly 50 years, the Samuel T. Lawton Jr. Memorial Scholarship provides assistance to law students who want to focus on environmental law. Professor and Mrs. Lawton’s children Mary Larson, Nancy Lawton, and Sam Lawton III recently donated more than $26,000 in appreciated securities to endow the fund and make it a permanent award at John Marshall.

By endowing the scholarship their mother created, Professor Lawton’s children have helped to ensure that his good work and influence will live on not only in the lives of those he taught directly, but also in students to come, who, like Deck, dream of making a difference in the world through passionate commitment to environmental law.

Lee Sprague, Dean Corkery, and Aruj Chaudhry
Lee Sprague, left, with Dean Corkery, presenting the 2014 Sprague Award to Aruj Chaudhry at Commencement in June.

Another family, the Spragues, exemplifies how selflessness can help turn tragedy into hope. Lee and the Hon. George R. Sprague (ret.), along with their children Cynthia and Alexander, established the Lucy Sprague Public Service Award in memory of their deceased daughter. Lucy was a second-year student at John Marshall when she was murdered in December 1996. The scholarship assists students interested in a career in public service, as Lucy had been. The award allows the Spragues not only to help keep Lucy’s memory alive, but also to help other students to carry on the work that Lucy planned to do before her life was cut short.

of each entering class
is awarded scholarships

Aruj Chaudhry’s work with children and refugees helped earn her the Sprague Award in 2014. She praised the Spragues for their support, saying, “This opportunity really has been a gift for me, the epitome of everything. I have a responsibility to be the best people’s lawyer I can be so that I can fight for justice on behalf of victims and serve my community.”

Bolstering Our Tradition of Excellence

Recently ranked No. 16 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, John Marshall’s trial advocacy program has been instrumental to many law students on their journeys to becoming practice-ready. Alumnus Joseph J. Duffy (JD ’79), an accomplished trial lawyer, saw an opportunity to support our tradition of excellence by creating a scholarship to support students on the trial advocacy path. His pledge of $25,000 over three years

average debt burden
of 2014 graduates
establishes the Joseph J. Duffy Trial Advocacy Scholarship, which will provide financial assistance to students who are committed to developing trial advocacy skills through designated coursework, participation with the Trial Advocacy & Dispute Resolution Honors Board and Council, or interscholastic competitions. “As a proud alum, I wanted to express my appreciation to John Marshall by creating a scholarship to support law students who strive to become trial lawyers,” Duffy said.

Extending the Legacy of Service

For many of our students, a career of community service begins in law school. With 10 clinics and more than 50 student organizations, John Marshall offers a multitude of opportunities to get involved with the community, and many find that the work they do in law school is only the beginning of a long and distinguished career of giving back.

2013 median
scholarship amount

One such alumna was Judge Willie M. Whiting, who dedicated her life to community service and professional excellence. She was the only woman in her graduating class in 1950 and was a trailblazer in the law and political life.

Whiting was known for her kindness and the many ways she gave back to her community. After a lifetime of service, she took a final opportunity to give back to her community by donating $50,000 to John Marshall as part of a planned estate gift. Her generous donation was applied entirely to current-use diversity scholarship funds and divided among a number of student recipients.

The Giving Spectrum

There are many ways to give back. Some alumni choose to contribute to existing named endowments, while others create new endowments to support students in particular fields of study. Some alumni make memorial gifts to honor the memory of friends or loved ones. Some make gifts of appreciated securities such as stocks or bonds, while others include John Marshall in their estate planning.

Though they may be funded by different donors with different intents, scholarships are an opportunity to honor loved ones, invest in the future, continue legacies of service, and—most importantly—transform lives.

To make a gift to an existing scholarship, or to endow a new scholarship, please contact Lauren Prihoda Weiner, Director of Individual Giving, Office of Alumni Relations & Development, at or 312.427.2737 ext. 871.

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