April 1, 2001
|A $50,000 challenge by an anonymous graduate motivated the College of Law's alumni to contribute nearly $75,000 in gifts and $10,000 in pledges during the college's 2001 annual fund drive. This represents a tremendous increase in graduate giving, nearly double that of the past.
At the end of last year, Cathy Henson, until now the anonymous donor of the class of 1989, asked Dean Janice Griffith what she could do for the law school. The dean's immediate response was "Give us a challenge gift to increase our annual fund." This conversation resulted in Ms. Henson's pledge of $50,000 to match all alumni annual gifts to the College of Law. The college's annual fund had never exceeded the mid-$30,000 level, so raising the bar to $50,000 presented a "very steep mountain to climb" according to Dean Griffith. She and Alleen Deutsch, development director, knew that Ms. Henson's challenge would energize graduates as well as put pressure on the college to meet the goal.
Georgia Trend magazine named Cathy Henson one of the "100 Most Powerful and Influential Georgians" in 1999, 2000, and 2001. She is the vice chair of the State Board of Education and chair of the Rules Committee, as well as the founder and president of the Georgia School Council Institute, a nonprofit organization created to assist and support the implementation of local school councils. Henson is a member of the school law section of the State Bar of Georgia. Her undergraduate degrees are in English and speech communications.
The increase in unrestricted graduate gifts will benefit the alumni scholarship endowment fund, a top priority at the College of Law. The state does not provide funding for graduate school scholarships, making it essential to build endowment to support deserving students who want to attend the dynamic, urban-oriented Georgia State University College of Law.
Ms. Henson has agreed to a second $50,000 challenge grant for 2002. This one will match all dollars received above the $50,000 level. The College of Law's goal for the 2002 fiscal year is $100,000.