Dean of Law's Fund Reaches a Milestone
Justice Margaret Nyland, AM
When Professor John Williams, the former Dean of the Adelaide Law School, first came up with the idea of creating a fund to assist financially disadvantaged undergraduate law students, he was unsure it would ever become reality.
But after three years of promotion and lobbying he has successfully reached the target of $100,000. This means the fund can now be endowed in perpetuity to provide ongoing financial support to students in need.
“It has been a very important initiative to benefit generations of law students,” said John.
Elise Thomson was one of the first students to receive assistance from the fund in 2014 after her employer passed away, putting enormous financial strain on her ability to meet the ongoing costs of her law degree. A single mother of four teenagers, Elise had the added costs of raising a family.
“Not having to worry about whether I could afford text books removed some of the financial burdens relating to university life,” says Elise.
“These types of grants for assistance are particularly important for single parents who are studying as they are often not eligible for other scholarships or funds.”
Elise is now employed as a lawyer and wants to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
“I have graduated with my law degree and my financial situation has greatly improved in recent months and, as such, I have made a contribution to the Dean of Law’s Fund in appreciation,” she says.
John says he could not have achieved such a wonderful outcome without the support of alumni, colleagues and members of the profession.
“Those who supported the fund inevitably pointed to the importance of education and their commitment to the next generation of students,” he says.
He paid particular tribute to the Dean of Law’s Fund committee. Chaired by the Justice Margaret Nyland, AM, the committee consists of Barrister Robert Cameron, Emeritus Professor Ivan Shearer, AM, and David Meyer.
“Margaret has been an outstanding advocate for the fund, not only in encouraging financial support but also by helping to create greater awareness of the fund among the legal profession,” says John.
"It is largely due to her efforts that we have achieved our goal in only three years.”
To date, more than 200 donors have made over 300 gifts toward the fund and 23 students have received support.
Now endowed in perpetuity, the fund will create an enduring legacy capable of supporting future generations of law students experiencing significant financial stress.
Story by James Litt