Published: May 4, 2020
Alex Hamilton

Second-year University of Colorado Law School student Alex J. Hamilton ('21) is this year’s Wyss Scholar.

The Wyss Scholarship, given to one Colorado Law student each year, supports graduate-level education for promising leaders in Western land conservation. Recipients receive generous financial assistance to cover the full cost of one year of law school, as well as funds for internship opportunities, research assistance, and postgraduate support.

Hamilton, a dual JD/Master of Science in Environmental Studies candidate, is Colorado Law's third Wyss Scholar. He plans to pursue a career in federal land-use planning.

"Alex Hamilton is the quintessential Wyss Scholar. His talent and passion for public lands conservation are sure to secure his place as a leader in the field and I fully expect to counsel him as necessary to ensure that he achieves that goal. For my part, it will not be a difficult task," said Mark Squillace, associate dean for faculty affairs and research, Raphael J. Moses Professor of Law, and faculty coordinator of the Wyss Program.

"I could not be more thrilled to be named this year's Wyss Scholar. I believe that modern federal public land management must center conservation; this scholarship supports my goal of making that a reality. It is an honor to join this community of passionate, talented individuals," Hamilton said.

Originally from Truckee, California, Hamilton clerked for the civil office of the Boulder City Attorney’s Office, served as a faculty research assistant for Squillace, and is a graduate teaching assistant in CU’s Environmental Studies Program. As a student-attorney in the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic, Hamilton filed a protest of a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease on behalf of a Wyoming nonprofit. This summer, he will clerk for Earthjustice in Denver.

"No place is more sacred to me than the American West, and no cause is nearer to my heart than conserving those spaces," Hamilton noted in his application.

Before law school, he earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in environmental studies at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

"It was in the legal realm, I saw, that public lands conservation goes from concept to practice," he said of his decision to pursue a dual JD/MS degree. "I knew that this was where I needed to be."

The Wyss Foundation is a charitable organization that promotes land conservation in the American West. Colorado Law is one of six graduate schools nationwide selected to participate in its Wyss Scholars Program. JD students in their second year at Colorado Law who are interested in Western land conservation issues may apply to serve as Wyss Scholars.

Scholars are selected on the basis of leadership potential, commitment to furthering land conservation in the American West, commitment to pursuing a career in nonprofit or public sector conservation, financial need, and academic strength.

Eric Dude ('19) was selected as the school’s inaugural Wyss Scholar in 2018 and Leah Fugere ('20) was selected as the second recipient in 2019.