North Dakota Spirit: Students helping students


Alyssa Shirek

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North Dakota Spirit: Students helping students

Annual Law School Art Auction gives back to future generations

Every fall, the University of North Dakota School of Law holds the Law School Art Auction. The event is a fundraiser organized by third-year law school students that pays for their graduation speaker and a banquet for all graduates. But in 2003, it blossomed into something more. That year, the class lost one of its own. As a memorial, it established an endowment so that a student who wished to work over the summer in a public interest job would be able to do so.

Since then, annual auction funds have run the gamut, from updates to their student lounge to new furniture in classrooms.

Auction proceeds exhibit the true generosity of students and affiliates of the UND law school. On average, graduates of the School of Law leave UND with the second-highest student loan debt on campus. These passionate students give what little they have to those who come after them, and that attitude lays the foundation on which North Dakota Spirit | The Campaign for UND is built. The campaign aims to raise $300 million for the University, and $100 million will go directly to its passionate students.

Organizer Kevin McGillicuddy estimates that this year’s auction brought in about $20,000 for the law school. “We will decide how the money is spent as a class this semester, but we know already that the money will go towards improving the law school and making it a better place for the students,” the Student Bar Association President said.

McGillicuddy, who earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from UND in 2008, explained what motivates him to give back to his University.

What is your motivation for giving back to the School of Law through your time and generosity?

I feel incredibly fortunate for being given the opportunity to attend Law School here at UND, and I was always taught to leave a place a little better than you found it. This University has given me so much that it felt good to be able to give something back.

Is there anyone who has inspired you along the way?

My parents have always been a source of inspiration. They have worked extremely hard for everything they have and because of that I have been awarded opportunities they never were. What does North Dakota Spirit mean to you? North Dakota Spirit to me is about being proud of where you come from. My family moved a lot when I was younger and North Dakota ended up being our home. I am proud to be a graduate from this university and am excited for how our state is growing.

How do faculty and staff support the efforts of students in the law school?

The professors and faculty at the UND School of Law are great. They encourage students to put on activities like the Art Auction and they go above and beyond to help with everything from making donations themselves to helping with the programs. Without their support, functions like this would not be so successful.

Learn more about North Dakota Spirit Week here.

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