Campbell Law hosts annual scholarship luncheon for donors, recipients

Photo of the Dean speaking at the Scholarship Luncheon

RALEIGH – Campbell Law School held its annual appreciation luncheon for scholarship donors on Tuesday, March 9, for the first time in two years due to the pandemic. More than 100 donors, alumni, students, faculty and staff members attended the event, including numerous distinguished Campbell Law alumni and former faculty members.

Hosted by Dean J. Rich Leonard, the event’s invocation was given by Corey Goss ‘22, who is a Cheshire Schneider Advocacy Scholarship recipient.

Leonard provided a brief overview of some of the law school’s recent achievements including a two-year ultimate bar passage rate of 98.1 percent. “We are now the third largest law school in the state,” he said. “Candidly we are bigger than we planned to be, we just had an unexpectedly enthusiastic response to our offers of admission last fall and we seated the most credentialed class during my nine years as Dean. We expect we will repeat what we have done in the past and we are on solid ground with terrific students.”

And despite the pandemic, “Our Class of 2020 reported a 92 percent employment rate after 10 months. The market is hot right now.”

Leonard added, “Let me thank you for your help in making legal education more affordable for my students. Legal education is expensive especially for private schools who have no appropriations to underwrite it. I know because I went to the most expensive law school and it was the best money I’ve ever spent. For a farm boy from Davidson County, it was the key to a remarkable career… Over a lifetime a law degree contributes an additional $1 million to your earning power. Again we appreciate your presence here and all that you do.”

The annual event is a significant one for the law school, as it provides an opportunity for scholarship donors and recipients to meet and  interact, in many instances for the first time. For example, Nate Bowers posted the photo below on Facebook with the caption, “Today I got to meet my scholarship donor for the first time in person. Below, the 2021, 2022 and 2023 Joy and Leary and Joy Davis Leadership Scholarship awardees stood with Mrs.Joy Davis and her son, Ben Davis Esq. Thank God that such gracious people exist to fully fund our Juris Doctorates.”

The luncheon also serves as a platform for fellowship, as well as celebrating the hard work of law students throughout the academic year and the foresight of Campbell Law donors.

Third-year student Mathew H. Darby, a recipient of the Janette Soles Nelson Public Service Scholarship, talked about the work he did prior to law school with prisoners facing the death penalty who could not afford an attorney. “It was listening to my client in jail or prison … I loved my work, but I always knew I belonged in the courtroom with my clients. It was not until this scholarship that it was possible for me. This scholarship has allowed me to be a part of a very special law school that is preparing me to finally tell the stories of my clients. I could not be more thankful for every person in this room. Thank you for making the dream dearest to my heart come true.”

Another third-year student, Miriam D. Sheppard, is the recipient of the Solomon W. Marshall Law Scholarship and the Dean’s Excellence Scholarship as well as one of the law school’s advocacy stars. She said she chose Campbell Law’s FLEX JD program because she knew she wanted to come back home to N.C. to practice law, she wanted to be able to work during law school and she wanted a community that shared her religious beliefs. 

“Campbell is where I really wanted to be and Campbell is where God wanted me to be…God has reminded me everyday when I walk in this school that He is with me, that this is what I am supposed to do and that this is where I am supposed to be. And He’s reminded me through the generous donations of the Marshall family but also the donors who are sitting in this room. You all are God’s reminders to us that this is where we are supposed to be and this is what we are supposed to be doing. So I say thank you from the bottom of my heart from a girl from Snow Hill, N.C., the first in her family to graduate from college and a first-generation law student.”

Sheppard added, “When you give of your time and your financial resources you are partnering with us in our journeys to be legal professionals.”

The scholarship luncheon photo gallery can be found on Campbell Law’s Facebook page at this link:


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,500 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law celebrated 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 12 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.