Fall 2020

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Scholarship Fund Leverages the Power of the Collective

Victors for Michigan sign

The Victors for Michigan Law Scholarship Fund exemplifies a timeless adage: A whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. Driven by one visionary leader who inspired additional gifts from alumni and friends of Michigan Law, the fund was created to provide ongoing support for students at the Law School. The founder preferred to remain anonymous but was a member of the Class of 1951, attended Michigan Law using the GI Bill after his time in the navy, and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. Now deceased, his gift has inspired others to join the Fund and has set in motion a wave of generosity. 

Since the Victors for Michigan Law Scholarship Fund was created, 62 donors have given or pledged more than $2.7 million to it. Many of their gifts were matched by special incentive programs offered by U-M during its last capital campaign, bringing the Fund total to more than $3 million. Because this is an endowed fund, it will provide tremendous resources for students in perpetuity, and seven Michigan Law students have already benefited. “Giving to this fund is a significant way to assist students who will add to the Law School’s legacy. I felt that giving to students was an important and directly useful way to make a contribution,” says Zach Fasman, ’72.

Another transformational donor, John Williams, ’59, and his wife, Carol, of Leawood, Kansas, gave to Michigan Law on an annual basis for more than 50 years, but when they were ready to significantly increase their level of giving, they were thrilled to contribute to the Victors Scholarship Fund. John passed away in March 2020, but his impact will be felt for years to come.

The Victors Scholarship Fund allows the Law School to attract and retain top talent from far and wide. “I think it’s important that the people who operate in our society as lawyers are from varied backgrounds, and this scholarship fund helps to address that need,” says John Lummis, ’82. “In giving to this fund, I wanted to be able to meet the Law School’s highest-priority needs, while also leveraging an existing program and coordinating with others.” 

The story of this scholarship, which has grown into a resource that will benefit generations of future students, is but one example of the many ways Michigan Law alumni come together to make a difference.  “It means a lot to contribute alongside others because one person can only do so much,” Fasman says. “Giving to a fund like this and supporting students is more significant when more people are involved. It’s a great way to give back and pave the way for the next generation.” —CLP

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