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Giving Spotlight: School of Law Scholarships

WashCall students step up to find donors to meet matching gift challenge

From School of Law Alumni Newsletter - Summer 2020

Like nearly every other educational institution, Washburn University School of Law has had to make changes to deliver courses in multiple ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students stepped up this spring to find donors to offset those costs.

The school incurred significant expenses to supply proper technology for faculty, students, and staff to function remotely, and that has included cameras, microphones, and internet capabilities. Those funds came from the school’s budget normally used for scholarships to reward returning students. WashCall chairs Brigid Markey and Paige Reese, both 3Ls, thought they could help by calling alumni from home this spring.

“Paige wondered whether there was anything we could do to help,” Markey said. “When she pitched the idea, I was all for it. After all, we were going to be at home for a long while, so I figured that time could be put to good use.”

“I felt compelled to ask how WashCall could help,” Reese said. “Through all of it, we were just committed to making sure the scholarship program would be available for fellow students who are so deserving of those funds.”

Cynthia Heath, BA '71, and honorary lifetime member of the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association, heard about this effort and offered a matching gift. Altogether, donors gave $65,000 – enough to fund the $30,000 in scholarships plus more to help recruit incoming 1L students this fall.

“Nothing is more important to me than providing opportunities for Washburn Law students to succeed, whether with scholarships, programs, or a new building,” Heath said. “Despite the Covid-19 situation, the law school could not put a pause on recruiting and retaining students.”

Reese and Markey became friends during their first few months of law school and they started working WashCall together. Donations they raise and the conversations they have with alumni inspire them.

“Once I started WashCall, I just couldn’t stop,” Reese said. “I got my first large donation, and it was just so thrilling to me that alumni would give their hard-earned dollars for students’ use. I find a lot of joy in talking to fellow Ichabods who care so much about Washburn Law and its students. I love hearing stories from their time at Washburn Law and about the professors they have that I have now. It is so funny to hear how, even as decades pass, many things remain the same. I have never had so many people be so generous with their time and treasures as I have seen with WashCall.”

They have both received scholarships and understand the importance of alumni giving back to a place like Washburn Law that has shaped so many individuals.

“Washburn alumni are so kind,” Markey said. “They want to know who you are, what area of law you’re interested in, and what has changed at Washburn. You gather pieces of history from your conversations. I think about how fortunate I am to receive a scholarship, and it fuels me to help bring that kind of relief to others.”

Heath wanted to make sure other students experience what Markey and Reese are experiencing.

“The size of the first-year class determines the size of the 2023 graduating class, and that opportunity could not be missed,” Heath said. “I was moved by the compassionate act of granting scholarships to keep current students who already had made financial sacrifices to go to the law school. These efforts squarely represent the University’s founding principles of ‘Non Nobis Solum,’ ‘Not for Ourselves Alone.’”


The need to raise scholarship dollars and cover other expenses continues, and so will the efforts of WashCall students. Be ready to receive a call from them this fall.


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