Getting in on a Positive Return

One of the worst ways a Saturday morning can be sabotaged before I finish my second cup of coffee is reading in the newspaper’s business section that the stock opportunity I passed on is now worth multiple times more than it was when I considered purchasing it.

Google is a good example. As recently as August 2004 you could purchase a share of Google stock for $100. Less than two years later, the stock has soared past $400 a share and is generally
holding strong.

It makes me think of that common expression at the gym: “No pain, no gain.” In this case there is no gain and a lot of pain from the disheartening feeling that others saw what you did not.

In some ways, the stock market is a viable analogy to the college and our alumni. For many of you, there were tough financial times when you were in law school. Some of you received scholarships from alumni who remembered their own lean years and funded endowment gifts to make your incline a little less steep. They foresaw that their return on investment would be tangible not only for themselves, but for those who benefited directly.

As one of the individuals privileged to serve the law school as a fundraiser, rarely a day goes by that I don’t walk down the hallway or attend a college event without a faculty member, administrator
or student approaching me about an essential funding need.

In the last few months I have been invited to discussions about securing funding for an eminent scholar chair, an international trade conference between Mexico and the United States, several student initiatives, and sponsorship for a student to participate in a conference in Peru. This is just a sampling of the vibrant and energizing ideas being advanced to help the college grow stronger. The only thing that weakens those ideas is the reality that few funds exist to make growth possible.

It’s really a matter of understanding the confining factors. The state of Florida is the lead sponsor of the law school and we are vigilant in serving as good stewards of the funds we receive each year from the Florida Legislature. The tuition from our students is another primary source of revenue without which the college cannot exist. Both income sources are limited.

However, there is no limit to how much or how many alumni and friends may contribute to our endowment and annual fund. Private support becomes the link between what might have been and what will be. In essence, they are investments in the human capital of the law school — faculty, students and staff — and, eventually, the legal system, our communities and the standing of our law school.

Agift to the college’s endowment or annual fund today will transcend any chart that measures a sense of satisfaction and pride in your alma mater. It’s the one sure way — like recognizing a hot stock — to be sure you get in on a great opportunity and receive a worthwhile return on your investment.