Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia School of Law has received a $3.4 million gift from the estate of former Georgia Gov. Carl E. Sanders. Approximately $2.4 million will be used to create the Carl E. Sanders Law Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships to law students. The remainder of the gift will be added to the Carl E. Sanders Chair in Political Leadership Fund, which was established in 2002 to support a faculty position for someone to “educate students about the roles of law and lawyers in shaping public policy and about the role of lawyers in positions of leadership.”
This donation is the largest single gift in the law school’s history and makes the late governor, who earned his law degree from UGA in 1948, the law school’s greatest individual benefactor.
The governor’s wife of 67 years, Betty Foy Sanders said, “Carl was still a student at the Georgia law school when we were married in 1947. And from there he went on to achieve much for which he always felt deep gratitude to the university, and particularly the law school. … This gift and our prior gifts to the law school reflect our sincere gratitude for what Carl’s legal education and his long association with the law school meant to him and to his legal career.”
During the 1960s, Gov. Sanders said: “The people of Georgia want and deserve nothing short of the best. The University of Georgia School of Law is, therefore, to be one of such excellence that no citizen of Georgia need ever leave [the] state because a superior legal education is available elsewhere.” This statement is etched into the school’s outer wall, and it is evidence of Sanders’ desire to make Georgia Law one of the nation’s finest law schools.
Georgia Law Dean Rebecca Hanner White said Sanders’ support for the law school has been unparalleled. “At every turn, Gov. Sanders has made his law school a priority. For those of us working to educate the next generation of lawyers and leaders, we realize this type of commitment is unique and that it has the capacity to pay dividends for decades to come. We are truly grateful and honored to be a part of Sanders’ legacy.”
UGA President Jere W. Morehead said, “Gov. Sanders’ ongoing support ensures that the law school’s future will remain part of his legacy for this great state. We are very indebted to this wonderful public servant for all that he has done. He will be missed.”
Known as “Georgia’s Education Governor,” Sanders was responsible for the investment of more than $2 billion in educational and training programs, including more than $552 million spent on the state’s public colleges and universities. Expenditures for buildings in the University System of Georgia topped $176.5 million during his term. Notably, he was instrumental in the provision of state funds to expand the law school’s facilities, including a new building for its Alexander Campbell King Law Library plus an additional $1 million to purchase books for the unit.
During his lifetime, Sanders supported the law school with several significant personal gifts that established the Carl Sanders Law Library Fund and the Sanders Chair in Political Leadership. He also donated his gubernatorial papers, some personal photographs and other memorabilia to the law library. He served as president of the law school’s alumni association and on the school’s Board of Visitors in addition to heading the fundraising campaign to build Dean Rusk Hall. He also served as a trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation and as president of the UGA Alumni Association. In recognition of these efforts, he was presented with the school’s Distinguished Service Scroll Award in 1967 and the main reading room of the law library was named in his honor in 2003.
During the late governor’s memorial service, White said it was Sanders’ vision and political will that transformed the law school from one that was small and serviceable into what is today-one of our country’s finest. She shared that during his governorship Sanders and then-Board of Regents Chair Jim Dunlap, also a Georgia Law graduate, believed that the way to build a better state was to build a bigger and better law school. They believed that “more and better trained lawyers would translate into better communities, more progress and a better state. … [T]hat vision and its realization have produced extraordinary leadership throughout this state, not just in the bench and bar, but in the business world as well as in government. … Each of our graduates, making a difference for their clients, for their communities, for the rule of law, and for their state is a beneficiary of Carl Sanders’ vision and is a part of his legacy.”
Sanders first enrolled at UGA in 1942 on a football scholarship but withdrew from the university to pilot bombers during World War II. He later returned to UGA, where he played on the 1945 football team that won the Oil Bowl and earned his law degree. He practiced law in his native Augusta and in 1954 was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. He then served three terms in the Georgia Senate before winning election in 1962 as governor. After leaving office, Sanders established a law firm that would eventually merge with Troutman Sams Schroder & Lockerman. Known today as Troutman Sanders, the firm has more than 600 lawyers in offices throughout the United States and Asia.
UGA School of Law
Consistently regarded as one of the nation’s top public law schools, the UGA School of Law was established in 1859. With an accomplished faculty, which includes authors of some of the country’s leading legal scholarship, Georgia Law offers three degrees-the Juris Doctor, the Master of Laws and the Master in the Study of Law-and is home to the renowned Dean Rusk Center for International Law and Policy. Its advocacy program is counted among the nation’s best, winning four national championships in 2013-14 alone. Georgia Law counts six U.S. Supreme Court judicial clerks in the past nine years among its distinguished alumni body of approximately 10,000. For more information, see www.law.uga.edu.