St. John’s Law Event Marks Unprecedented Year of Alumni Giving to Endowed Scholarships

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Alumni dedication, long a hallmark of St. John’s Law, is the bedrock of a recent campaign to build endowed scholarships that help to attract top students and to keep tuition affordable. Last summer the Law School raised over $1.5 million in generous gifts from alumni and friends. Soon after, John V. Brennan ‘63C, ‘66L, ‘93HON made a major contribution to the effort and the Brennan Family Scholarship Matching Program was born. With this initiative, each gift of $50,000 or more to establish an endowed scholarship would be matched 1:1, doubling the effect of the gift.

On the evening of February 11, 2014, Dean Michael A. Simons, alumni, faculty, students, and guests gathered at Sherman & Sterling LLP for a reception celebrating the success of the Brennan Matching Program and marking an unprecedented year of giving to endowed scholarships at the Law School. “It was our intention to contact alumni quietly at first to get the Brennan Family Scholarship Matching program off the ground, and then to formally launch the initiative at tonight’s reception,” said Dean Michael A. Simons. “But along the way something remarkable happened. Our alumni responded and they responded with overwhelming enthusiasm.”  

To date, more than 50 alumni and friends have given over $3 million in new endowed scholarships. With the match, these new gifts increase the Law School’s scholarship endowment by more than $6 million. Once fully funded, these scholarships will enable St. John’s Law to award an additional $300,000 in annual scholarship support to talented students in need of financial assistance. Long-time supporters — like Joseph M. Mattone, Sr. ’53C, ’55L, ’94Hon who made a notable $500,000 commitment — were joined by a generation of new donors.“More than a dozen of the new scholarships have been established by alumni who graduated from the Law School after 1990, and a few from the 2000’s” Dean Simons noted. “A new generation of donors has come forward to build a new culture of giving. The activities of just the past few months will increase our overall scholarship endowment by 60%.”

The event’s gracious host, Adam Hakki ’97, global head of the litigation group at Sherman & Sterling, is both a generous supporter — having endowed a scholarship this year for students interested in his twin passions of securities law and public interest law — and a dedicated alumnus. Brian Woods, Executive Director for Development and Alumni Relations, shared that Hakki hires and mentors St. John’s Law students and serves as a role model by achieving professional success and giving back to alma mater.  

During the reception, John O. Brennan ’90 gave heartfelt remarks on behalf of his sister, Mary Beth Brennan ’99, his parents, John and Anita Brennan, and his aunt, Dorothy McCabe ’82, stating, “St. John’s Law is in my family’s DNA.” Scholarship recipient Edda Santiago ’14 agreed that St. John’s Law is a second family. Reflecting on the significance of receiving a full-tuition scholarship to attend St. John’s, she said: “In addition to confirming that I had the ability to succeed in law school, the scholarship meant that I could pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer. I cannot stress enough the significance of the scholarship in my life and how thankful I am to the alumni who have donated to make these scholarships available to students like me. I am excited to join the alumni community in a few months and I look forward to following in your footsteps by funding a scholarship to make someone else’s dream a reality.” 

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