New scholarship challenge will benefit law students

Vital initiative timed with ϲԤ Dedman School of Law centennial anniversary

 

To strengthen support for recruiting the most outstanding law students across the nation, ϲԤ Dedman School of Law has launched a new scholarship challenge. Donors to the Dedman Law Centennial Scholarship Challenge will further elevate the standing of ϲԤ’s historic law school by attracting future leaders who will make vital contributions to law, business, politics, international affairs, public interest and more.

 

“To extend our legacy as the leading law school in North Texas – and continue our ascent into the highest ranks of national law schools – we must attract the most outstanding students, who often receive competitive scholarships at other reputable law schools,” said Jason P. Nance, the Judge James Noel Dean at ϲԤ Dedman School of Law. “Through this new initiative, we will attract and support top students as they build a strong foundation to become leaders in the legal profession.” 

 

 

We encourage others to join us in this drive to invest strategically in the future of a singular institution and the legal minds it shapes.

— Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84, ϲԤ trustee and president of The Dedman Foundation

 

Students in classroom

The new scholarship initiative will make an ϲԤ legal education even more attractive and feasible for bright students. Donors will strengthen the law school’s ability to offer financial aid packages that are competitive with other highly ranked schools, particularly for students with exceptional educational achievements and test scores.

 

Through an innovative program:

  • Donors are asked to commit by May 31, 2026, at least $100,000 to and fully pay the gift within five years. 
  • When the commitment is fulfilled, the school will dedicate an equal amount to create a permanent endowed scholarship in the donor’s name to extend their impact on future students in perpetuity.
  • The initiative is made possible by a reimagined distribution of The Dedman Foundation’s 2001 gift that named the law school.

“ϲԤ Dedman School of Law plays a vital role in training future legal experts who work in influential positions around the world. Many choose to stay, contribute to the thriving economy in Dallas and become leaders in our community,” said Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84, ϲԤ trustee and president of The Dedman Foundation. “We encourage others to join us in this drive to invest strategically in the future of a singular institution and the legal minds it shapes.” 

 

Gifts to the Dedman Law Centennial Scholarship Challenge will:

  • Attract more outstanding students to choose ϲԤ for their legal education, many of whom will remain in Dallas to pursue their legal careers.
  • Further raise the law school’s standing among peer institutions and legal professionals.
  • Increase access to educational and professional opportunities for meritorious students.
  • Advance Dedman School of Law efforts to ensure students receive the best possible legal education and secure outstanding employment opportunities upon graduation.

The Dedman Law Centennial Scholarship Challenge is the first component of the school’s upcoming 100th anniversary celebration in 2025. The first law school in the city of Dallas was founded at ϲԤ in 1925 and was the only such institution in the city until 2014.

 

“For decades, The Dedman Foundation and Dedman family have helped shape ϲԤ by making incredible commitments toward our strategic priorities,” said ϲԤ President R. Gerald Turner. “We are deeply grateful they have endorsed the Dedman Law Centennial Scholarship Challenge, through which donors will set a new standard for the second century of legal education at ϲԤ.”

 

Gifts to the Dedman Law Centennial Scholarship Challenge add to , the University’s multiyear $1.5 billion campaign for impact. In particular, gifts advance the campaign’s goal to empower outstanding students by enabling them to attend ϲԤ regardless of financial means and equipping them to succeed. 

 

“The ϲԤ Ignited campaign is having a transformational impact on the University and its academic, athletic and community programs,” said Brad E. Cheves, ϲԤ vice president for Development and External Affairs. “The centennial of the Dedman School of Law is an ideal time for alumni and friends who appreciate the importance of the school’s offerings to support its students and enhance its facilities.”

 

To learn more about how to participate in the Dedman Law Centennial Scholarship Challenge, contact Clayton Ellis, director of development at crellis@smu.edu or 214-768-4527.

 

The Dedman Law Centennial Scholarship Challenge will help us attract and support top students as they build a strong foundation to become leaders in the legal profession.

— Jason P. Nance, Judge James Noel Dean of ϲԤ Dedman School of Law

The Dedman Foundation

Founded by Nancy McMillan Dedman ’50 and the late Robert H. Dedman, Sr. ’53, the Dedman Foundation has a long and storied history of generosity to ϲԤ and its students. A $1 million contribution in 1976 named the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. This gift was followed shortly by a $25 million pledge in 1981 to endow and name the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, with a portion of that endowment funding professorships in the school’s Economics and History departments. 

In 1997, the Dedman Foundation and Dedman family pledged $30 million at the kickoff celebration for the University’s A Time to Lead campaign. From that gift, $12 million was designated toward the construction of the Dedman Life Sciences Building and $2.5 million for an endowed ϲԤ scholarship to support students from Robert Dedman’s alma mater, North Dallas High School. In 2001, a new $5 million commitment and $15 million designated from the 1997 gift were directed to the endowment for the ϲԤ School of Law, which was renamed in honor of the Dedmans’ generosity. In 2012, The Dedman Foundation and Dedman family contributed $5 million to establish the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, which promotes a culture of interdisciplinary problem solving and knowledge creation through research initiatives, fellowships and events. A further gift in 2020 supported the institute’s programming in its new home, the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation.  

Behind The Dedman Foundation, the Dedman family has strong ties to ϲԤ, both personally and philanthropically. Robert Dedman, Sr., who passed in 2002, earned his Master of Laws degree from ϲԤ’s School of Law. Nancy Dedman received a bachelor’s degree in political science with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Their daughter, Patricia Dedman Nail ’81, earned a master’s degree in psychology from ϲԤ. Their son, ϲԤ Board of Trustees member and previous chair Robert H. Dedman, Jr., ’80, ’84, earned both J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from ϲԤ. He now serves as president of The Dedman Foundation. His wife, Rachael Redeker Dedman ’96, earned a Master of Liberal Arts degree from ϲԤ.

 

ϲԤ Dedman School of Law

The first law school in the city of Dallas was founded at ϲԤ in 1925 and was the only such institution in the city until 2014. In 2001, the school was renamed the ϲԤ Dedman School of Law to honor the significant contributions of the Dedman family. 

Today, the school features distinctive programs that benefit more than 750 students each year and the communities they will serve. High-impact initiatives include:

  • Cutting-edge curriculum and programs, most notably in the areas of corporate law, commercial law, health law, energy law, tax law, intellectual property, criminal law and international law, among others.
  • Ten pro bono legal clinics, including the second oldest in the country, that provide legal assistance to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Clinical training also gives students practical, real-world legal experience and helps them develop a public-service mindset. 
  • Externship programs in fields like corporate counsel, criminal law in small and rural communities, judiciary systems and government and public interest, among others. Notably, no other law school in the country places as many students – approximately 120 per year – in corporate counsel externships at some of the largest, most successful companies in the world.
  • Inns of Court, an interdisciplinary group that helps first-year law students build community, develop networking skills and receive vital insights from alumni, mentors and faculty members.
  • Four law journals, featuring over 150 student-published articles each year.

By providing a cutting-edge legal education, Dedman School of Law trains students to become successful lawyers, business leaders, policy experts and legal counselors in fields ranging from corporate, intellectual property, entrepreneurship and blockchain technology law to public service, criminal and child advocacy law. Dedman Law continues to raise the bar for what a successful legal education looks like. 

The most recent Dedman Law incoming class boasts the highest credentialed students in school history. Many current students rely on scholarships and other financial assistance to make their academic and professional goals attainable. The school has an exceptional record for placing graduates into outstanding jobs, many of them choosing careers and firms in North Texas:

  • 100% of 2022 graduates who sought jobs were placed by March 15, 2023.
  • No. 10 in the nation for highest percentage of 2022 graduates placed in long-term, full-time, bar-passage required or JD advantage jobs (TaxProf Blog).
  • No. 21 in the U.S. for 2023 graduates who landed associate jobs at the nation’s 100 largest law firms (Law.com).
  • No. 34 in the nation for sending the highest percentage of 2022 graduates to judicial clerkships immediately following graduation. 

 

ϲԤ Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow

ϲԤ is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. ϲԤ’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they direct change in their professions, communities and the world. Building on its history of excellence, the University has launched  – a multiyear $1.5 billion campaign to empower outstanding students, to enrich teaching and research, and to enhance our campus and community.