Dean David F. Levi spoke at the event, as did Happy R. Perkins ’80, a member of the Duke Law Board of Visitors, former scholarship recipient, and donor who established the Happy R. and Cheri W. Perkins Scholarship. Katie Ertmer ’13, an R.C. Kelly Mordecai Law Scholar, also offered comments.
Perkins and Ertmer each shared their stories of how they came to Duke — Perkins through the advice of a college professor and Ertmer after reading about Duke Law’s merit-based scholarships online.
“I soon began to perceive differences between Duke and all of the other schools that I had gotten into,” Ertmer said. “[Duke Law] made me feel as if I was more than the sum of my LSAT score and my undergraduate and grad school grades.”
To the sponsors present, Ertmer said, “You have given us an amazing opportunity to make our lives better than they otherwise might be, and we take seriously our responsibility to carry your torch forward and provide the same opportunities for future generation of Duke Law students.”
The luncheon also provided an opportunity for scholarship donors and recipients to get to know one another.
“It’s just highly impressive to see alumni who are so important, powerful and also very generous,” said Bud Baker ’14, recipient of the William Louis-Dreyfus Scholarship. “It shows that I can get to where they are.”
David Chenkin ’82, who created the David B. and Yvette Chenkin Scholarship along with his wife, expressed a similar sentiment.
“The camaraderie and level of commitment by both the scholarship sponsors and recipients never ceases to amaze me,” Chenkin said. “I know that I get a lot out of just speaking with the students and seeing their enthusiasm, and I hope that they feel the same way about seeing folks who are in the position they may find themselves in 20-30 years from now. It also highlights the fact that time passes quickly and you really have to pay it back and pay it forward.”
Brandi Powe ’14, a recipient of the John D. Fite Mordecai Scholarship, said she also enjoyed the opportunity to visit with and learn from the alumni at her table.
“They gave me a lot of advice about different types of law to go into,” Powe said. “I’m thinking about patent law and was able to talk to someone about how my undergraduate major would be really good in that. It gave me ideas about the career paths I could look into.”