Inaugural Eglet Family Scholarship recipients share thanks
Robert T. Eglet and his wife, Tracy A. Eglet, believe in the importance of giving back, and their historic gift to McGeorge School of Law in 2021 is a reflection of their commitment to supporting law students who would not have had the financial means to attend law school otherwise. Now, their impact can be heard directly from the inaugural recipients of the Eglet Family Scholarship.
First-year law students and scholarship recipients Jessenia Pastran, Keith Dawson, Gabrielle Ann Sison, Bhupinder Mann, and Juan Contreras offered their thoughts and appreciation for the Eglets in a video, each mentioning that the burden taken from their shoulders allowed them to pursue their legal education.
The Eglets’ $25 million gift, which will be paid over time, provides vital support for first-generation students and Students of Color through scholarships. $5 million of the gift supports the school's advocacy center, which is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation. The other $20 million is for need-based scholarships to first-generation students and Students of Color. At the time it was given, the gift was among the top 15 largest donations to a U.S. law school, the third largest to a California law school, and the second largest in California's first university's 170-year history.
“I would like to thank the Eglet family for this special opportunity, and for giving me this scholarship as a first-generation college student and as a first-generation law school student,” Pastran said. “This really meant a lot to me and my family.”
During the law school’s announcement of the gift, Robert Eglet, ’88, mentioned how both he and his wife relied on assistance during law school.
"We are excited that we have the ability to help students who would not otherwise be able to afford law school," he said.
The impact of their donation on the McGeorge community has already been felt by the first scholarship recipients, who have expressed their gratitude for the scholarship support. These students are a part of McGeorge School of Law’s first majority minority incoming class. The 176 JD students in the entering class consisted of 52 percent Students of Color, 54 percent women, and 38 percent first-generation college students.
“It really has meant a lot to me because it has taken a huge burden off my back, so I can concentrate on my education,” Contreras said.
Sison echoed the sentiment, adding that, “it means so much to me that you’re supporting students like myself with diverse backgrounds.”
The gift also serves a larger purpose in encouraging and supporting students to pursue a career in civil trial practice. Robert Eglet is the only lawyer to be named Nevada Trial Lawyer of the Year twice and served as lead trial counsel in more than 130 civil jury trials with only four losses and has won numerous other awards for his work as a civil trial attorney.
“If I can inspire even one student here to passionately pursue a career in civil trial practice, then I will have achieved my goal,” he said.
In addition to providing scholarships, the gift helped solidify McGeorge's position as a leader in trial advocacy, moot court, and legal education, according to Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz.
“The need-based scholarship helps us address a systemic barrier to diversifying the law school and the profession,” Schwartz said.
The law school received an additional $5 million in matching funds from Pacific’s Powell Fund, bringing the total to $30 million.
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