April 26, 2013

Law school alum covers tuition for students in need

The incoming class of Law School students will be able to take advantage of a new full-tuition scholarship program, thanks to a donation from a Law School alumna.

The $4 million gift from Debra Cafaro (J.D. ’82) will allow some low-income UChicago Law School students beginning with the class of 2016 to graduate debt-free.

“The scholarship was [Cafaro’s] idea. She was a first-generation college student…She believed the University of Chicago opened doors for her,” Dean of the Law School Michael Schill said.

The daughter of a homemaker and a postman, Cafaro is a first-generation college student who is currently the CEO of Ventas, a senior housing and health care real estate investment trust.

She practiced law for 13 years before entering the business sector. Cafaro is also the co-chair of the Law School’s Campaign Planning Group, and in the past she has chaired the Annual Fund, been a member of the Visiting Committee, and participated in the Dean’s Business Advisory Group.

According to Schill, the Law School is currently in the process of finalizing admissions and choosing scholarship recipients for the class of 2016. There was no additional application for the scholarships; students were evaluated based on their financial need and merit, he said.

The Cafaro scholarship is currently the only need-based, full-ride scholarship offered by the Law School and the second full-ride scholarship program at the Law School. The Rubenstein Scholars Program provides 60 full-ride scholarships, solely merit-based, to members of each incoming class.

Cafaro was not available for comment prior to publication.