PILF Auction Raises Almost $30,000

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PILF Auction coordinators
From left, auction coordinators Gray Chynoweth ’04, Merrill Hoopengardner ’04 and John Bolin ’03 at the event.

This year’s record-breaking Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) Auction and Gala on Feb. 21 raised nearly $30,000 in fellowship funds for Duke Law students working in non-paying public interest jobs this summer. Hundreds of elegantly dressed students, faculty, alumni and staff gathered in the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy to sample cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, enjoy musical entertainment, and bid on items and services donated by the law school community and friends.

The auction featured more than 200 items ranging from restaurant gift certificates to exotic vacation packages. Early-arriving guests picked up silent auction bargains such as two autographed posters of the men’s basketball team ($60 each), lunch for six ($45), and a box of Monte Cristo cigars ($200).

Live auction fever took hold at 9 p.m., when emcees Senior Associate Dean James Coleman and Assistant Dean Jill Miller turned the lectern over to a professional auctioneer, “Colonel Stony.” In rapid sequence, the colonel offered up a succession of high-ticket items, inciting a bidding war between students for Game Night with James and Doriane Coleman, senior lecturing fellow (final bid $900) and for a week at a house in Provence, France ($4,700).

Among the many other live auction items that helped PILF exceed its fundraising goal by approximately 50 percent were two basketballs signed by the Duke men’s team, $600 each; a parking pass for the Law lot, $500; and an exemption from basketball ticket campout, $550. Last year's auction raised more than $16,000, and this year’s goal was to raise more than $20,000.

Musical and dance performances by law students also enlivened the evening. Kelsey Weir ’05 led a string quartet during the first hour of the silent auction, and the Law School a cappella group, Public Hearing, preceded the live auction. In addition to benefiting from generous donations from members of the Law School community, the auction relied on help from scores of student volunteers. Auction coordinators Merrill Hoopengardner ’04, John Bolin ’03 and Gray Chynoweth ’04 extend their thanks to all guests and contributors who helped make the 2003 PILF Auction the most successful in Duke Law history, and the Law School thanks them for their many hours of work on behalf of students.