Boston College Law School changes lives. Nowhere was that more salient than at this year’s Law Scholarship Dinner. A celebration of the community’s support for students, the dinner was Odette Lienau’s first such event as the inaugural Marianne D. Short, Esq., Dean of BC Law. Her opening speech was followed by a moving recognition of Wayne A. Budd BA’63, H’13, P’90, by his former student, Steven H. Wright ’81, who recently established an endowed scholarship in Budd’s honor. Finally, James and Lois Champy Scholar Javon Davis ’23 capped off the night with words of gratitude for his time at BC Law and excitement for his career in public interest law.
A common thread ran through the speeches and celebrations: the life-altering effects of a BC Law education, and the exceptional warmth and support of the community. Studying at BC Law—unburdened by onerous debts—allows students to pursue their dreams while investing in the community that makes the Law School such a special place.
It all starts with scholarships and financial aid, Dean Lienau explained, which open the doors for the many fantastic students who want to call BC Law “home.” From there, the impact stretches to their classmates and colleagues, as well as to the clients they serve in the BC Innocence Program, the Civil Rights Clinic, or the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Clinic, and, eventually, their legal careers.
“Because of donors like you, I get to follow my dreams immediately.”James and Lois Champy Scholar Javon Davis ’23
The life and career of Wayne Budd aptly illustrate this dynamic. The first African American president of the Boston College student body, he went on to become the first and youngest African American president of a statewide bar association and the first African American US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, before reaching new heights of success in corporate law and as a BC Law professor. As his mentee, Wright said, Budd “led with such excellence that he not only opened the door for historically underrepresented people, but his level of excellence set the standard” for all who came after him. Like ripples in a pond, Budd’s impact kept expanding: to his colleagues, students, and the countless others inspired by his uncommon kindness and generosity. And thanks to endowments like this one created in his honor, BC Law is able to attract the next generation of excellent students who are also good people.
So often financial assistance becomes the deciding factor in whether or not a deserving student like Javon Davis is able to attend BC. Moreover, Davis explained, his scholarship has empowered him to pursue his calling post-graduation—advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged through public interest law—rather than being pushed into a personally less fulfilling line of work just to pay off loans.
Working in the Public Service Scholars program, Davis received indispensable formation and developed strong bonds with like-minded students. “[BC Law] is one of few places where people this smart and mission-driven work so collaboratively, and are so intentional about building lasting relationships,” said Davis.
Leveraging his public service experience and BC Law’s strong reputation, he’s landed internships with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In the fall, he’ll leave for Washington, DC, to begin working in civil rights litigation with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.“Because of donors like you,” Davis told the audience, “I get to follow my dreams immediately. …You are changing lives, allowing us to chase our dreams and answer our callings.”