NEW ORLEANS – Tulane Law School graduates Gary Crosby and Robert Waldrup are working to endow a diversity scholarship for Tulane Law students in an effort to thank the benefactors of the scholarships that helped them diffuse the costs of a legal education and to “pay it forward” to give future students the same opportunities. The pair hopes the endowment will launch similar diversity efforts within the school.
“As recent law school graduates, we are keenly aware of the rising costs of tuition to attend an institution like Tulane Law School,” Crosby and Waldrup told the Louisiana Record. “Moreover, as scholarship recipients ourselves, we can say with conviction that without that avenue of financial support we would not have had the opportunity to attend Tulane Law School.”
In addition, Crosby and Waldrup said they recognized as African Americans the need to help recruit more African-American students to Tulane Law School. They said they represented two of fewer than 10 African-American graduates from the law school’s class of 2016, and that African-American students constitute roughly 5 percent of the entire student body, although the school is in a city in which nearly 60 percent of residents are African-American. Crosby and Waldrup called those statistics “indefensible.”
“Tulane Law School is a fine institution, but the classroom environment can be significantly enriched with a more racially diverse student body,” Crosby and Waldrup said. “We hope that the endowment will inspire others to join our movement to increase the racial diversity at Tulane Law School. Moreover, we are working with administrators, professors and alumni on the law school’s institutional commitment to diversity in all forms, but specifically racial diversity.”
Crosby and Waldrup said the endowment is also designed “to mentor and support deserving students from historically underrepresented groups, including African-Americans, Vietnamese and Latinos, all of which have a large population in New Orleans.” In addition to the scholarship, Crosby and Waldrup said the mentoring and networking aspects of the endowment “will set the scholarship recipients on a path of success during and after law school.”
The goal for endowing a full-tuition scholarship in perpetuity is $1 million. To date, Crosby and Waldrup said more than $100,000 has been pledged toward the endowment. Alan Stone, a partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, and his wife, Katy Stone, a recent visiting professor in Tulane’s School of Science and Engineering, both graduated from Tulane and made the first matching donation to the fund. Crosby and Waldrup said that donation “has inspired other alumni in the legal and business sectors to pledge their financial support to the scholarship.”
“We hope that our scholarship will inspire other alums to establish their own named scholarships to provide more financial support to historically underrepresented groups,” Crosby and Waldrup said. Donors can either contribute directly to the Waldrup-Crosby Endowed Law Scholarship, or they may endow a fund in their own name under the Waldrup-Crosby umbrella.
Crosby and Waldrup said the endowment “has already sparked a much larger conversation among the administration, faculty and alumni on how to develop a strategic vision and plan on a more robust schoolwide diversity initiative.” Waldrup has been appointed to the Law School’s institutional equity committee to assist this effort.
“Though it will take time for the scholarship to endow, we must act now in establishing the narrative and weaving the need for diversity into the fabric of the institution,” Crosby and Waldrup said. “This, quite frankly, would be the scholarship’s greatest accomplishment.”
Crosby, a native of Jasper, Alabama, is heading to the New York office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy to start his career as an associate in the firm’s litigation and arbitration group, while Waldrup, a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, who was born in Bossier City, Lousiana, will begin his career in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
The general public can make a gift to the Waldrup-Crosby Endowed Law Scholarship at securetu.tulane.edu