The University of Colorado Law School has raised half of its $10 million fundraising goal for new scholarships to support students. Scholarships are a primary focus of the Campaign for Colorado Law's Future fundraising campaign, and the law school has raised $5 million since the campaign began in June 2011.
Four scholarship funds have taken the lead: the Dan Barash Scholarship Fund, the David H. Getches Scholarship Endowment Fund, the William P. Johnson Endowed Law Scholarship, and the John H. and Cynthia H. Schultz Endowed Scholarship Fund. The Barash, Getches, and Schultz funds all opened prior to the campaign kickoff, but have seen substantial growth in the past three years.
In April 2014, John Schultz ('53) generously gave an additional $100,000 to the scholarship that he and his late wife Cynthia founded in 2004, which increased the Schultz Scholarship endowment to more than $1 million, the first Colorado Law scholarship to reach that mark.
"I wanted to make the scholarship fund large enough so it would have a significant impact," Schultz said. The Schultz endowment currently provides more than $40,000 a year for law scholarships.
The Barash, Getches, and Johnson scholarships are all positioned to reach $1 million within the year.
After Dan Barash's ('02) untimely death at age 30, his family founded a scholarship in his name to honor his memory and commitment to public service. The Barash family continues to raise funds for this endowment, now at more than $950,000, and sends an annual letter to more than 1,000 people. This year, the annual mailing raised $70,000 from more than 400 people.
Similarly, the Getches scholarship was founded to honor the legacy of beloved dean of Colorado Law, David Getches. In early 2014, Dean Phil Weiser announced a goal of growing Getches scholarship, approaching $850,000, to $1 million. More than 100 people have made donations since then, adding more than $50,000 to the endowment.
The Johnson scholarship was established last fall to recognize William P. "Bill" Johnson ('58), a partner at Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons (now Lewis Roca Rothgerber) and one of the founding directors of FirstBank, Colorado's largest locally owned holding company. The Johnson Scholarship has been generously supported by Johnson’s law firm and FirstBank, as well as employees at both, and is already approaching $800,000.
For some students, scholarships are the difference between attending law school or not. "Without scholarships I would not be able to practice law. Period," said Shawn Trautman ('16) first-year law student at Colorado Law. For many others, scholarships can be the deciding factor when choosing which school to attend. "Receiving a scholarship was enormously influential in my decision to attend Colorado Law," said Justin Miller ('16).
While holding tuition constant, Colorado Law has more than doubled the amount of scholarships given to students since 2011, with a total of $5.4 million awarded last year. With in-state tuition more than $31,000 per year and average debt of graduates over $100,000, scholarship funds improve the financial situation for students and make law school a reality. The state of Colorado currently provides funds for about four percent of the law school's operating budget and is projected to decline to nearly zero within the decade. Scholarships are more important than ever to continue to bring the best and brightest students to Colorado Law.