Board of Visitors member Timothy Dunn ’83, along with his wife Ellen Stofan ’83, a trustee of the College of William and Mary Foundation, gifted $1.1 million to the College of William and Mary Oct. 29 to establish the H. Stewart Dunn, Jr. Civil Liberties Project.
Intended to fund educational initiatives dealing with civil rights, the gift will fund internships, research projects and post-graduate fellowships at the College.
“I wanted to honor my father’s passion for civil rights, something he cares deeply about,” Dunn said. “The main goal is to educate students and the community about civil rights and civil liberties and encourage people to learn about them and go out there and protect them.”
Vice President for University Development Sean Pieri said the gift was one of seven outright gifts to the College of $1 million or more within the past 15 months.
By involving both the undergraduate Department of Arts and Sciences and the William and Mary Law School, the gift is aimed at providing a broader understanding of the civil liberties outlined in the U.S. Constitution as well as inspiring students to become active in defending them.
“Research projects that students do with faculty in this area will be in a wide variety of areas,” Dean of Arts and Sciences Carl Strikwerda said. “We are not setting any boundaries on which [civil liberties] we will look at and which we will not … These kinds of gifts are incredibly important because they allow us to give opportunities to students and faculty that we are finding increasing difficult to support [with the decrease] in state funding.”
Research opportunities on civil liberties, through the Roy R. Charles Center, will be expanded, according to Strikwerda. Efforts to forge collaborative teaching initiatives between the law school and the undergraduate program will also see funding increases as well as increased devotion to bringing guest lecturers on civil liberties to the College.
Davison Douglas, dean of the law school, echoed Strikwerda’s emphasis on civil rights programming, citing the importance of donations to a tight budget.
“This provides additional funding that can be used for summer internships, specifically for civil liberties institutions,” Douglas said. “We can enrich educational programming by supplementing support we receive from tuition and the state, and do things we would not otherwise be able to do.”
H. Stewart Dunn is an active partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Ivins, Philips and Barker who served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union for over a decade. He received his B.A. from Yale University before graduating from Harvard Law School
“William and Mary has played a large role in the history of government and civil rights,” Timothy Dunn said. “[The gift] kind of made sense.”