Winter 2020


A Legacy of Lasting Friendships

A Legacy of Lasting Friendships

By splitting a $100,000 gift between them, two close friends and former Michigan Law classmates established a scholarship to celebrate the most defining aspect of their time at the Law School: friendship.

“The relationships that come out of Michigan Law are the true treasures,” says John Petrovski, ’83, senior managing director of commercial real estate at BMO Harris Bank in Chicago. He is one of a dozen classmates who have kept in close contact for nearly 40 years, gathering annually and conversing regularly via email.

Another member of the group, Bart Peterson, ’83, echoes Petrovski’s sentiments. “The friendships I developed at Michigan continue to serve me well today,” says Peterson, former mayor of Indianapolis and current president and CEO of Christel House International, a nonprofit organization that provides holistic education for disadvantaged kids. “They’re people I turn to for guidance in the tough times and for celebration in the good.”

When Petrovski and Peterson came together to serve on their 35th Reunion committee, they also jointly founded the Petrovski and Peterson Scholarship Fund to support students and encourage them to build and nurture relationships with their classmates during their time at Michigan Law as well as after graduation. The pair believes those friendships—the ongoing debates over current affairs, the resulting expansion of personal perspectives, and the mutual support provided on personal and professional matters over the years—are just as valuable as the outstanding education students receive at the Law School.

“Yes, you should be focused on what you’re learning in class and getting inspired by your professors,” says Petrovski. “But don’t forget to look at the people around you because you can learn from them too. Build those relationships and they will become your lifelong support system.” That certainly has been true for Petrovski and Peterson, whose friendship now has a lasting legacy at Michigan Law.­—JP