By Mary Stanton Knight
University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi law student Ethan Booker, of Oxford, is spending his summer working with the Queens District Attorney’s Office-Homicide Unit in New York, an opportunity made possible by support from the School of Law’s faculty, staff and dean.
“The best thing the Ole Miss law school provides its students is an incredible faculty and staff,” said Booker, a third-year law student. “We are not just a number at this law school. Our professors want to see us succeed as individuals. That goes a long way with students.”
Booker said he also appreciates the school’s commitment to providing hands-on experiences for students, such as externships and positions on advocacy boards that prepare them for work in the field.
A new $25,000 gift from Susan Duncan, who joined the school as dean in August 2017, will help ensure resources continue to be available to support such opportunities.
“Her gift means so much,” said Booker, who is a member of the Trial Advocacy Board, LatinX Legal Student Association and president of the UM Graduate Student Council.
“The great thing about this law school, and the university as a whole, is that we are all part of the Ole Miss family, which means something. I think Dean Duncan’s gift reflects her commitment to the students and this school.”
The gift supporting the School of Law Fund is a worthy investment, Duncan said.
“I believe in the mission of the law school, and I want to invest in our future lawyers and leaders,” she said. “I know firsthand about the great things we are doing on such a small budget. We have bold plans, which require resources, and I am excited to be part of this upward trajectory.”
Contributions to accounts such as the School of Law Fund enable the school to send teams to oral advocacy competitions, help Mississippians in need through clinics, provide scholarships and offer top-notch student services.
“Because state funds are very limited, we depend on the generosity of our friends and alumni,” the dean said. “We could not achieve what we do without their support.”
Natalie Lowry, a third-year law student from Macon, describes Duncan as a supportive dean and proactive leader.
“Dean Duncan exemplifies a person who truly cares about the success of her students as well as her faculty and staff,” said Lowry, a clinical student at the MacArthur Justice Center and vice president of the Black Law Student Association.
“She is heavily involved in the academic and extracurricular activities of the students, and it shows in her ability to be present and support the student organizations at the law school. It has been an honor to be under her leadership during my time at the law school and to see her give to a fund that will have positive impact on law school classes in the future.”
In the 2022 U.S. News and World Report rankings, the Ole Miss School of Law rose 13 points over the previous year – an achievement Duncan credits to the school’s faculty and staff.
“Our faculty and staff are dedicated to our students and give 150%,” she said. “I always tell students, ‘Come to the University of Mississippi if you want to learn from professors who are national experts in their fields; have a staff that is student-centered; engage in award-winning programs including our oral advocacy program, clinics and concentrations; study in a state-of-the-art building on the most beautiful campus in the nation; and pay a fraction of the cost of other law schools!'”
The School of Law Fund is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations. Those interested can mail a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS, 38655.