Gene and Pat Boyce continue support of Campbell Law with gift honoring Dean Emerita and Professor Melissa Essary

Photo of Pat and Gene Boyce

RALEIGH – Those driving or walking by Campbell Law School on Hillsborough Street can’t help but notice the  G. Eugene Boyce Center of Advocacy sign near the building’s entrance.

Prominent Raleigh attorney Gene Boyce gave the law school its largest gift to date to establish the center in September 2015. Three courtrooms and an advocacy suite with professors’ offices, a reception area, trophy cases, and conference rooms collectively form the Center of Advocacy. To date, Campbell Law has spent more than $500,000 dollars equipping all three courtrooms with state-of-the-art technology in an effort to produce tomorrow’s leading advocates regardless of courtroom setting.

This week, as the law school celebrates the 40th anniversary of its first graduating class, Dean J. Rich Leonard has announced that the Boyces have committed to give the law school another $2.1 million in a planned gift in honor of Dean Emerita and Professor Melissa Essary.

“Our Advocacy Program has reached unprecedented heights thanks to the generosity of Gene and Pat Boyce,” Dean Leonard said. “This gift ensures the long-term vitality and success of our Advocacy Program.”

This most recent gift from the Boyces comes as Campbell Law is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary of moving from Buies Creek to the state capital, a trailblazing  effort that Essary helped lead when she was dean.

“Dean Melissa Essary and I first met Gene in 2007 shortly after it was announced that Campbell Law School was moving from Buies Creek to downtown Raleigh,” said Britt Davis, Campbell University vice president for advancement. “Gene and Dean Essary hit it off from the very first meeting and he quickly became a lifelong personal friend to Melissa and me along with the entire Campbell University family.”

Boyce is an accomplished attorney focusing primarily in the areas of class action law, litigation, commercial litigation, and constitutional law. Throughout his career, Boyce has participated as defendant and plaintiff attorney in countless jury trials and more than 142 appellate proceedings in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also examined the conduct of public officials at the highest federal and state levels.

One of Boyce’s signature achievements includes serving as assistant chief counsel to the Watergate Committee, working alongside Sen. Sam J. Ervin. Boyce served as the lead investigator in the discovery of President Nixon’s White House taping system.

Boyce spent his career embroiled in messy legal battles. He had a reputation for tackling complex tax disputes, and through the 1990s, forced the government to return more than a billion dollars in taxes to citizens who were wrongly assessed, according to the Charlotte Observer.


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 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2019, Campbell Law will celebrate 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 10 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.


Lisa Snedeker

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