LAWRENCE — A new center for excellence at the University of Kansas School of Law aims to foster diversity within the law school community. The Dru Mort Sampson Center for Diversity and Inclusion, launched in late fall 2019, will encourage community engagement while helping students adjust to the demands of law school.
The programmatic, co-curricular center will host prominent speakers at the law school and the university, provide continuing education and training to KU Law’s students and faculty who serve diverse populations in Lawrence and in Kansas City, support scholarship, and promote the interaction of people at the School of Law with the diverse communities of Lawrence and the state of Kansas. The center will also join the work of the law school’s Faculty and Staff Committee on Diversity & Inclusion and the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council.
The center is made possible by a major gift from KU Law alumni Bill Sampson, L’71, and Drucilla Mort Sampson, L’96. A portion of the gift, which will be managed by KU Endowment, will fund annual programming. The remainder will create a permanent fund to support future activities at the law school.
KU Law Assistant Dean Leah Terranova, who serves as the school’s director of diversity and inclusion, said the center will offer meaningful training and events.
“By offering such opportunities both within and outside Green Hall, we are able to fulfill our responsibility to educate young lawyers not only as experts in legal analysis and advocacy but also as culturally competent practitioners and members of society,” Terranova said.
The Center is the latest commitment Bill and Dru Sampson have made to KU Law’s success. Each is a James Woods Green Medallion recipient, and they supported the law school’s Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy as well.
“The University of Kansas School of Law and its graduates have been instruments of change in our society for generations,” Dru Sampson said. “Today – for the School of Law, for the university, for our state and for our nation, diversity and inclusion are critical goals. We are excited to provide a center dedicated to achieving them.”
Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law, expressed his gratitude for the gift.
“Dru and Bill have given generously to the law school throughout the years. This gift continues their support and recognizes that a diverse legal field is a stronger legal field,” Mazza said. “The center will help KU Law meet the changing needs of the legal profession by supporting diversity in the law school and in the communities it serves.”
Dru Sampson has been a leader in not-for-profit management in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri for more than 40 years. She was president of the Kansas Historical Society and serves on its board of directors. In Lawrence, she has both founded and led diversity and interfaith organizations, and she worked with KU Endowment as development director for the KU School of Law. Bill Sampson is a partner with Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, Missouri.
Additional information about programming supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at the law school is available on the KU Law website.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU.