We Rise Together: Historic Gift Propels an Audacious Campaign


Albany Law Campaign

JANUARY 17, 2019, 8:55 P.M. New York Athletic Club, Central Park South, Manhattan. President and Dean Alicia Ouellette is minutes from sharing a closely guarded secret: Albany Law School has received $15 million from an anonymous donor. This isn’t a major gift. It’s bigger. In the world of philanthropy, it is known as a transformational gift. And at this moment, only she and a select few know about it.

Fast-forward: High fives. Hugs. Toasts. And the realization, spreading across the ballroom, that Albany Law School has entered a new era.

“This gift is by far the largest gift in the law school’s history,” Dean Ouellette said. “It will endow our clinic in perpetuity, renaming it The Justice Center at Albany Law School. This gift will empower us to change our world for the better—one client at a time, one student at a time.”

And with that, she launched We Rise Together: The Campaign for Albany Law School, the law school’s most ambitious fundraising effort ever, with an initial goal of $30 million by June 2021. Dean Ouellette and company have since been rolling out the campaign across the country, meeting with alumni from Long Island to Orlando to San Francisco. In March, the law school capped a weeklong celebration with a special reception in Albany.

At each stop, alumni are learning about the three pillars of We Rise Together: Independence, to build a robust scholarship endowment; Innovation, to create innovative programming and to improve technological infrastructure and academic facilities; and Impact, to bolster the initiatives—The Justice Center and Government Law Center—that provide critical legal services to the community.

The anonymous donor’s $15 million gift, which will support The Justice Center’s clinical programs and pro bono services, falls squarely under Impact. There are six newly endowed scholarship funds (Independence), and an innovation fund for legal education (Innovation), seeded with a $1 million gift.

Dean Ouellette expects to knock the fundraising goal “out of the park.” For good reason: to date the campaign for Albany Law School has raised $25 million in gifts and commitments, including $1.8 million from more than 1,100 donors for annual expendable support in 2018-19—an all-time high.

This is the We Rise Together era: a time when an institution-defining $15 million gift is possible; a time when Albany Law School joins elite company; a time when a community lifts itself to new heights. “Together, we will ensure our independence, guaranteeing scholarships for our incredible students. Together, we will fund innovation, making us the law school for the future. And together, we will multiply our impact,” Dean Ouellette said. “Join us as We—Albany Law School—Rise Together.”


Independence: We will build a robust scholarship endowment to continue our tradition of attracting, retaining, and bringing together the best students from a variety of backgrounds.

Innovation: We will give leadership the funds and the flexibility to create innovative programming, infuse technology into the curriculum, and build a law school for the future.

Impact: We will fund our Government Law Center and The Justice Center to give students critical experience and provide needed pro bono service.

Learn more at albanylaw.edu/RiseTogether.


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