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A Lasting Legacy

Since the early 17th century, when America’s first colleges were founded with charitable bequests, planned giving has played an integral role in advancing our nation’s institutions of higher education. This great philanthropic tradition lives on today, with donors throughout the United States making significant contributions to higher education through their estates. In the year 2000 alone, $3 billion was transferred to higher education through charitable bequests.

Each year, many alumni and friends of The George Washington University Law School decide to include the Law School in their estate plans, thereby ensuring a lasting legacy for future generations. In fact, a gift through a bequest is one of the easiest ways to leave a legacy to the school. Upon notice to GW, any alumni or friend who includes GW in his or her estate plans becomes a member of the Heritage Society. The Heritage Society recognizes those who have made the commitment to make a charitable bequest to GW and celebrates their generosity. The Heritage Society gathers yearly for a gala luncheon to pay tribute to the charitable intentions of its members and to honor GW.

Charitable bequests can take a variety of forms (specific, general, contingent, or residuary), but they all evidence the desire to support a worthy institution. Some donors opt to leave to the Law School a specific dollar amount, while others bequeath real estate, art, securities, or the remainder of their estate after they have provided for all other beneficiaries. Donors retain full use of their prop-erty during their lifetime and are free to change any bequest provision at any time.

Those considering charitable bequests to the Law School should consult with qualified professional counsel regarding gift plans as well as financial, tax, and estate-planning options before making a gift. GW and its advancement staff are available to provide general information (although not legal, financial, or tax advice). To learn more about ways to give to GW or to make a gift, contact the Law School Advancement Office or the University’s Office of Planned Giving:

Leslie W. Borak
Executive Director of Advancement
The George Washington University Law School
(202) 994-6117

Arden Schell, Esq.
Executive Director of Planned Giving Programs
The George Washington University Office of Advancement
(202) 994-8715 or (800) 789-2611

Although most alumni include charitable bequests in their estate plans in order to support the Law School’s mission, tax advantages (including capital gains and estate tax savings) may exist and should be examined when considering how best to structure a gift. One way to fund a gift with significant tax advantages is to bequeath an IRA or other qualified retirement account to the Law School. As a charitable 501(c)(3) organization, GW Law School is able to realize much more of the gift than would a spouse or child, who would owe considerable taxes on the asset.

While alumni decide to leave bequests to the Law School for myriad reasons, most are united by feelings of gratitude to the Law School for their own educations and subsequent career opportunities, and also by the desire to help others succeed within GW Law School and the legal profession. Take the case of Frank Swayze, LLM ’76, a retired U.S. Navy captain now living in San Diego. “GW helped to kick off my career in international law,” says Swayze, who went on to work at the Pentagon in the Office of the Judge Advocate General, International Law Division, and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs).

“I was a fairly fresh-caught lieutenant commander back when I attended GW Law School, and the Navy picked up the tab,” he continues. “I had a marvelous experience at GW, and the continued association that the Law School has had with the Navy over the years inspires a real degree of loyalty.”

In addition to a generous monetary bequest, Swayze is bequeathing his extensive collection of vintage radio programs to GW. “I’ve been collecting radio programs since 1965,” says Swayze, whose collection comprises some 18,000 vintage sound recordings. “It’s been a fascinating hobby through the years,” says Swayze, “and it seemed like the right thing to do to bequeath the collection to GW.”

GW Trustee Gary Granoff, BBA ’70, JD ’73, shares similar sentiments. “I got a great education at GW, which has helped me in my business and throughout my life,” says Granoff, whose Manhattan firm Granoff, Walker & Forlenza PC specializes in transactional work and commercial litigation. To show his thanks, Granoff recently added a specific bequest to his will designating that upon his death, a portion of his estate go directly to the Gary and Leslie Granoff Scholarship Fund at GW.

“We established the fund 10 years ago to benefit students needing financial assistance who are majoring in business, accounting, fine arts, art history, and law,” says Granoff, whose wife, Leslie, is an artist and also a GW alumna. “A number of students have already benefited from the fund. It’s been a very rewarding experience, and we’re glad to be able to do it.”

Morton Foelak, JD ’70, says that a bequest to the Law School is high on his list of priorities. “I certainly will be making a bequest to GW,” says Foelak, a patent examiner with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the past 48 years. “There’s no doubt about it. I owe a great deal to GW. The University made me whole. It made me a better person, and my law degree is something that I will always savor.”

The Wright Way to Say Thanks

The 1930s were tough years for James “Jim” Wright, JD ’38. His father had lost his business in the Depression, and money was in short supply. Wright dreamed of attending law school, but his family could not afford to send him. “I got a scholarship to the University of Chicago Law School but was in such sad financial circumstances that I was forced to withdraw after the first year,” he says. “It was no way to get my law degree. I decided instead to get a full-time job and work my way through GW Law School at night.”

It was the right decision. “I can say without doubt that I received a first rate legal education at GW,” says Wright, a trustee emeritus of the University. “GW gave me confidence, as well as legal knowledge, and launched me on a wonderful career.”

As a gesture of thanks to his alma mater, Wright recently donated the entire contents of The Alice and James Wright Foundation for Charitable Giving to support merit scholarships at GW Law School. The reason, he says, is simple. “It’s something that I wanted to do because The GW Law School has served a fine purpose in my life,” he says. “I had a difficult time scraping the money together to attend law school, so if I can make it a little easier for someone else who is deserving, that’s what I want to do…. to give someone else a chance, because I was given a chance.”

Wright launched his illustrious career at the Ford Motor Co., where he was one of a group of 10 U.S. Air Force tacticians hired by Henry Ford II to restart the struggling company following World War II. The high-powered group, ultimately tagged the “Whiz Kids,” is credited with installing strong financial controls at Ford and leaving an indelible mark on the company, which endures today.

“When we first arrived at Ford, we were still in uniform,” he says. “We gradually settled in and divided up responsibilities according to each of our specialties. I’d had experience in organization planning and setting up organizations, so that became my initial field in the automobile business.”

During his 17 years with Ford, Wright held many high-level positions, including general manager and vice president of the Ford division. As director of purchasing, he saved Ford $60 to $70 million annually by disassembling autos, analyzing what parts should cost, and presenting the analysis to supplying vendors.

He looks back fondly on his Ford partners, including Robert McNamara, who went on to become the chairman of Ford Motor Co., and Tex Thornton, who presided over Litton Industries. “Bob was just brilliant, and Tex was one of the best leaders I’ve ever known or observed,” says Wright, who left Ford in 1963 to become corporate director, president, and CEO of Federal-Mogul Corp.

Now enjoying retirement in Sea Island, Ga., Wright hopes that his gift to GW Law will help others achieve their professional goals. “GW meant so much to me at a time when I really needed a boost,” he says. “I’m very proud of my association with the Law School, and hope that my gift helps deserving young people get a law degree and launches them on a career that is beneficial to them and to society in general.”
Jamie L. Freedman

Career Opportunities

Earlier in this issue of the magazine, an article featured GW Law School’s Career Development Office. A number of naming opportunities are available in the CDO suite. Friends of the Law School can, if they wish, “make their mark” at GW by availing themselves of these opportunities in the new, centrally located CDO suite.

These include designating the name of the career development suite as a whole, the resource library, the director’s office, or several other rooms and offices within the CDO.

For alumni whose careers have benefited from their GW Law experience, for firms who have hired GW Law graduates, and for other friends of the Law School, these naming opportunities are a way to express appreciation. They also are, of course, a way to be appreciated, as law students and alumni using the named facility over the years are reminded of the generosity of the benefactor. Because the CDO is so vital and so beneficial to the prospects of students, the donor can be assured that his or her name will be associated with a positive aspect of the GW experience.

For more information on naming opportunities at the CDO or elsewhere at the Law School, please contact Executive Director of Advancement Leslie Borak at (202) 994-6117.

Luther Rice Society Recognizes Annual Donors

Richard Simring, JD '91

Alexia Morrison, JD '72

Professor Thomas D. Morgan

It’s impossible to discuss GW’s rich history without mentioning Luther Rice, the principal founder of the University. After Congress passed the school charter in 1821, Rice took it upon himself to seek the support necessary for the college’s facilities and programs. As a tireless fundraiser and school ambassador, Rice paved a bright future for The George Washington University.

The spirit of Luther Rice lives on in the Luther Rice Society. Established in 1968 to honor those individuals who perpetuate Rice’s legacy through their continuing support of the University today, the society recognizes those who make gifts of $1,000 or more to any fund or school at GW.

The Law School’s Luther Rice Society’s 234 members—comprising GW alumni, staff, and friends—play a vital role in strengthening the Law School. One such person is Richard Simring, JD ’91, a partner with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in Miami. “I’ve always given to GW because I had a great, deeply personal law school experience,” says Simring. “The faculty members’ doors were always open, and I’ve stayed in touch with many of them.”

At the time of our interview, Simring, who specializes in complex business litigation, had just returned from a two-week jury trial in Tampa, Fla., where he won a $7.5-million verdict. “I can’t say that my GW Law School training didn’t help,” he says.

Simring says that he is impressed by the University’s use of funds over the years. “GW Law is constantly improving the school,” he says. “They’ve reconstructed buildings, hired outstanding new faculty members, and increased the Law School’s reputation across the board. GW Law’s ranking is going up. That doesn’t happen for free. Giving to GW will, therefore, continue to be a priority for me.”

Another devoted Luther Rice Society member is Alexia Morrison, JD ’72, who chairs the board of the Children’s Law Center, a nonprofit organization in the District of Columbia that provides pro bono representation to children and their caregivers.

“In the past 15 years or so, there’s been such rapid forward movement at both the University and the Law School that I feel lucky to be involved,” says Morrison, who also is a member of GW’s Board of Trustees. “It’s especially wonderful to be able to watch all the exciting developments from a front row seat. There’s so much going on, and I’m delighted to be a part of it and contribute to it.”

Faculty members as well can be found among the ranks of Luther Rice Society members. “Making a contribution to higher education is something that comes naturally to a professor, and there’s no better place to contribute than the school that I’m trying to help build,” says Thomas D. Morgan, Oppenheim Professor of Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law, who joined GW’s faculty in 1989. “As a former law school dean, I know the importance and value of private contributions from alumni and friends. GW is a university that clearly uses its money well, and I’m happy to support it.”