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William & Mary Law Receives $1 Million Scholarship Gift
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Penney Young

Summary: A couple with ties to the law school donated $1 million to be used towards scholarships for students to reduce the loans they have to take out.

William & Mary Law School received a generous donation from an alumnus and his wife. Jim Penney, who graduated from the school in 1983, explained that he needed to take out loans in order to pay for school. Now 35 years later, he wants to provide a way for future students to reduce the loans they need to make it through school, according to an announcement from the school.


Penney and his wife LauraLeigh Young donated $1 million towards scholarships as part of the school’s For the Bold campaign. He said, “There was no other way I would have made it through law school – loans were a necessity. We decided to contribute to scholarships with the goal of either reducing or eliminating the amount that future law students might have to borrow for tuition.”

The donation will provide tuition support for law students to come as part of the newly created James A. Penney and LauraLeigh Young Scholarship in Law Endowment and the Class of 1983 William B. Spong Jr. Scholarship in Law Endowment. William & Mary Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas said, “Jim and LauraLeigh’s support of the law school is an extraordinary example of the impact private support plays in training the next generation of citizen lawyers. We are grateful for their continued support of the first law school in the United States.”

To honor their donation, the law school will rename the courtroom in the Hixon Center for Experiential Learning and Leadership to the James A. Penney and LauraLeigh Young Courtroom.

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The couple live in Seattle but have remained involved with the law school. He is co-chair of his class’s 35-year law reunion and has been part of his class’s reunion leadership team for around 20 years. They both have participated in other programs like the Dean’s Council Dinner and events hosted in Seattle.

Penney added, “I’ve remained a big fan of the law school since graduating, so I wanted to convey my enthusiasm to my classmates with the hope they also would choose to contribute financially to support the law school’s mission and to enhance its presence in the academic community.”

He is currently the executive vice president and general counsel of Wave Broadband. From 2000 to 2006 he was a partner with Cairncross & Hempelmann, where he practiced corporate finance and technology transactions law, representing clients like the Microsoft Corporation, Starwood Corporation, and Sealaska Corporation.

Young was a corporate writer for 12 years before becoming a full-time parent to their three children. She spent time at a public middle school, providing the students with academic and social support. When their oldest daughter was diagnosed in 2014 with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS), Young became an advocate and educator of the disorder.

Do you think it would be possible for enough alumni to donate money that almost all of the cost of law school could be covered for students? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about donations law school receive that go towards scholarships, read these articles:




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