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Helping Students Make Their Mark

J. Richard Knop endows $1 million scholarship

Rick Knop, JD ’69, and his wife, Leslee Belluchie, with Dean Frederick M. Lawrence

J. Richard Knop, JD ’69, had been out of touch with his alma mater when an article profiling his successful career as a merger expert who found a niche in government contracting appeared in the Jan. 16, 2006, issue of The Washington Post.

Reading the article, Frederick M. Lawrence, dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law, noticed Mr. Knop was an alumnus. He invited Mr. Knop to lunch and then to join the Law School’s Board of Advisors.

“Fred’s outreach to me, which he has done with many other Law School alumni, has been a wonderful experience for me and my wife, Leslee Belluchie,” says Mr. Knop, who now regularly attends the school’s events and shares his experience and knowledge with the GW Law community.

Mr. Knop, who is a recipient of GW’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, remembers working to put himself through law school. Now that he is in a position to give back to GW, he hopes to give current students opportunities he never had. The Law School recently announced the establishment of the J. Richard Knop Scholarship Fund, based on a $1 million gift from Mr. Knop and his wife.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that a GW Law education is accessible to all qualified students,” Dean Lawrence says. “Rick Knop’s generosity of spirit is inspirational, and his contribution helps reduce our graduates’ loan burdens so the cost of education will not limit their ability to make their mark on the world. In this and so many other ways, Rick is a model GW Law alumnus.”

The gift is part of the Law School Power and Promise Fund, which seeks to ensure that qualified students, regardless of financial resources, can take full advantage of a GW Law education.

“I am hopeful that in some small way my contribution to the Law School and GW will help attract high-quality students who would not otherwise be able to come to GW,” Mr. Knop says. “I know that for GW to become an even greater law school, it needs to be able to offer scholarships to attract the best and brightest and to provide diversity in the student body.”

When he was a student, Mr. Knop took classes in the mornings and then walked three blocks to his office at the State Department, where he clerked for Marjorie Whiteman, then counselor of international law. He worked full time in the summer and part time during the academic year. “I would not have been able to go to law school without that job,” he says.

The current economic downturn and the high cost of living in Washington make it hard for people to pay for law school, Mr. Knop says. “Hopefully, this scholarship will help keep the caliber of the student body high.”

Mr. Knop is co-founder of the Windsor Group, a middle-market mergers and acquisitions firm that BB&T Capital Markets purchased five years ago. He was senior managing director at BB&T and co-head of its government and defense group before founding the private equity fund FedCap earlier this year. FedCap focuses on the government contracting industry, an area of strength for GW’s Law School, he says.

Mr. Knop chaired the campaign to create the endowed Nash-Cibinic Professorship, named for Ralph Nash and John Cibinic, the two creators of the Law School’s program in government contracts law. Mr. Knop maintains that GW has one of the leading law schools in the world in the discipline.

When he transitioned from practicing law to investment banking, Mr. Knop found his legal training was very critical to his success. “At their heart, mergers and acquisitions are a complex legal transaction,” he says. “But for my law degree and my connection to GW, I would not have had the career I had.”

A Global Gift that Keeps Giving

Professor Andy Spanogle endows competition fund in memory of wife

After decades at the forefront of international business law, longtime GW Law professor John A. “Andy” Spanogle established an endowed fund this spring that ensures GW Law’s continued participation in one of the world’s leading international moot court competitions.

The Pamela Spanogle International Commercial Arbitration Competition Fund, endowed in loving memory of the professor’s late wife, will support the Spanogle Competition—a one-credit course offered every spring at GW Law for students interested in competing in top international arbitration contests.

The course will culminate each year in the selection of four winners who will represent GW at the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, which takes place annually in Vienna and Hong Kong and draws participants from premier law schools around the globe. The Vis contest is based on international texts drafted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law; professor Spanogle served on the commission for many years.

Income from the fund will support both the Spanogle Competition at GW and the expenses of GW Law students participating in the Vis moot court competition. The fund will also support the Pamela Spanogle International Arbitration Competition Award, which will be presented annually at the pre-commencement awards ceremony to the winners of the Spanogle Competition.

Professor Spanogle, GW’s William Wallace Kirkpatrick Research Professor of Law, says that several factors spurred him to endow the fund. “First and foremost, I wanted to honor my wife, a gallant lady, who accompanied me on many trips to Vienna, where I served from 1982 to 1990 as a member of the U.S. delegation to UNCITRAL,” he says. “Naming the GW competition and award after her seemed a logical connection between something special that we shared and something that I feel is important for the Law School—that is, ensuring that this valuable opportunity for GW Law students will continue to be funded.”

Another motivating factor was professor Spanogle’s longtime service as coach of GW Law’s international commercial arbitration team. Over the years, he skillfully prepared many GW students to compete against the world’s best at the Vis moot court competition. “This gift ensures that future generations of GW Law School students will continue to participate in this outstanding event that attracts competitors from more than 50 countries around the world,” he says.

The gift is a fitting tribute to his late wife, who traveled extensively with him on myriad business-related trips around the world—visiting Egypt, Russia, Laos, Australia, and many European countries. “Pamela was the ‘take-me-along kid,’” he says.

Her love of travel was equaled by her passion for family history. An avid genealogist, Mrs. Spanogle traced both her family and her husband’s family prior to 1600 and helped others explore their genealogical histories. She was also an author who wrote many articles about her research for a number of genealogical journals.

Professor Spanogle, who joined the GW Law faculty in 1988, is well known in the field of international business law. For much of the 1990s, he helped shape the creation of registered pledge acts in Central and Eastern Europe and South America. From 1991 to 1992, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he received a Fulbright Grant to serve as an adviser to the Polish minister of finance, leading to widespread international consulting work on commercial financing legislation, including the Polish Registered Pledge Act of 1996, a draft of a commercial code for Eritrea, and consumer laws for Trinidad and Tobago. In recent years, he helped the Kosovo government establish a computerized business registry and supported the Iraqi Governing Council in updating Iraq’s commercial code provisions.

A prolific writer, professor Spanogle has more than 50 publications on commercial and consumer law to his credit. He wrote or co-wrote a treatise on international business transactions and four casebooks, including the popular text International Business Transactions, which is used in some 120 law schools across the nation.

—Jamie L. Freedman

Seated, from left: Kaitlin Donley, Dvora Wilensky, John Sorrenti. Top row, from left: Eva Pulliam, Jessica Katz, Denise L. Turner, Willette Elder, Katherine Earnest, Randol Mora, Margaret Yates, Dean Frederick Lawrence, Alexandria Perrin, Meredith Holt, Margaret Barr, and Khelin Eure.

Class of 2010 Establishes Scholarship Fund

Congratulations to the Class of 2010! Graduates joined together to establish the Class of 2010 Scholarship Fund as their Class Gift to the Law School. Led by Student Bar Association President John Sorrenti and Class Gift Chair Dvora Wilensky, the Class of 2010 continues the tradition begun by the Class of 2005, commemorating graduation from GW Law by giving back to an area of the school in need of critical financial support.

Michael McKenna

Jacob Burns, LLB ’24, HON LLD ’70, was a generous supporter of GW Law. The GW Law library, scholarships, the school’s largest moot court room, the Community Legal Clinics, and the Van Vleck Constitutional Law Moot Court Award are each named in his honor. Burns’ grandson Barry Shenkman, president of the Jacob Burns Foundation, visited the Law School in spring 2010 with his family to observe and appreciate firsthand Burns’ enduring legacy. A long-term trustee of the university, Burns was renowned for his philanthropy, through which he “contributed significantly to the expanding boundaries of knowledge.”

New York City Dean’s Dinner

A record number of GW Law alumni and friends attended the New York City Dean’s Dinner on Nov. 17 at the Metropolitan Club. Dean Frederick M. Lawrence spoke about the value of scholarship support today, and he was joined by two recent scholarship recipients, John S. Jenkins Scholarship awardee Brett Sheats, JD ’09, and Bridget Crawford, JD ’08, a Thurgood Marshall Scholar.

The New York City Dean’s Dinner Committee was chaired by Jeffrey Kohn, JD ’84, and included Kenneth Adelsberg, JD ’79; Matthew Brief, JD ’80; John Hay, JD ’80; Andrea Kantor, JD ’83; Ted Poretz, JD ’79; Bruce Sabados, JD ’89; Amir Shaikh, JD ’06; Robert Stavis, JD ’82; Lindsay Tasher, JD ’05; and Steven Tasher, JD ’73

Rachel Rabhan

New York City Dean’s Dinner Chair Jeffrey Kohn, JD ’84, and his wife, Martha

New York Dean’s Dinner Committee member Lindsay Tasher, JD ’05, and her husband, Steven Ziolkowski, with Jane Yanovsky Ginns, JD ’05

Matthew Brief, JD ’80; Bernard Gordon, JD ’73; Steven Goldman, JD ’76; Richard Champion, JD ’76; and Warren Feldman, JD ’80

Peter Schundler, JD ’68, shares a moment with Jan Honick and Eric Honick, JD ’76. (above) The Metropolitan Club’s Library provided an elegant setting for the Dean’s Dinner in New York City.

Dean Frederick Lawrence greets Corinne Ball, JD ’78, and her husband, Thomas Weber, as Dean’s Dinner Chair Jeffrey Kohn, JD ’84, looks on.

John S. Jenkins Jr., JD ’94, with Brett Sheats, JD ’09. Mr. Sheats was a recipient of the scholarship honoring John S. Jenkins Sr., JD ’61, who was senior associate dean for administrative affairs at GW Law for 18 years. Mr. Sheats qualified to be considered for a Jenkins Scholarship through his Army service in Afghanistan.