2010 Class Gift
We chose this scholarship as our class gift to support future VLS students who are facing significant life challenges, so they can realize their goal of finishing law school. Erin’s fortitude, determination, and grace inspired us all."
~ Laurie Wheelock, Class of 2010
Erin Woolley knew her purpose and her mission when she entered Vermont Law School.
Before coming to VLS, Erin worked in the Maine courts as a legal advocate for women seeking refuge from domestic violence. She chose Vermont Law School for its strong emphasis on social justice and the possibility of receiving hands-on training through directed internships. She knew the school was a great fit for her passions and her professional goals.
Erin became involved with Women's Law Group and Law Students for Reproductive Justice in her first year at VLS. The summer after her 1L year she became the first legal intern for Safeline, the domestic violence action network in Orange County. By her second year at VLS, Erin stood out as one of the leaders in her class. She co-chaired Women's Law Group, held the secretary position in LSRJ, and co-directed the VLS production of the Vagina Monologues, part of the annual global V-Day action event to benefit women's anti-violence groups. She held office hours at Safeline and worked their hotline. All the while she carried a full course load to pave the path to becoming a lawyer at a domestic violence project.
On her birthday in March 2009, in the middle of her second year of law school, Erin was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Usually a highly curable form of cancer, Erin's lymphoma grew through the first six months of chemotherapy; the second round of chemotherapy was particularly aggressive and also did not render the intended results. Not to be deterred from pursuing her goals, Erin continued in her course work, her volunteer work, and her leadership roles while undergoing treatments.
Finally the third round of chemotherapy succeeded, substantially reducing the cancer and slowing the metabolic rate of the disease. Erin stopped attending classes in January to undergo a transplant of her own stem cells to put the cancer into remission. She planned to take part in commencement and finish her course work this summer.
Erin's initial response to the stem cell transplant was strong and the prognosis hopeful, but she began struggling several weeks later. It was with tremendous sadness and loss that the Vermont Law School community received the news that Erin passed away on the morning of March 16th.
The Class of 2010 has chosen to honor Erin's memory by establishing an endowed scholarship in Erin's name. The class is working to raise $50,000 to establish the Class of 2010 Erin Woolley Scholarship. Once established, the endowment will allow a scholarship to be given each year to a second- or third-year student who has overcome personal adversity, is not receiving merit scholarship, and has demonstrated commitment to women's or children's issues or economic justice. Through this scholarship, the community leadership and personal strength that Erin demonstrated in her time at VLS will continue to be recognized by all VLS classes to come.
We hope you will join the Class of 2010 in making this scholarship a reality. We thank you for your support.
Class of 2008 Gift Forges the Trail
Read about the Class of 2008's gift
Nicole Lynch was hiking Kent’s Ledge last fall, making her way past the washed out sections of the popular trail and dodging the downed tree limbs when the thought came to her: Why not set out to clean up and maintain the trail for others? And the seeds were sown for the Kent’s Ledge Improvement Project, which would beat out the competition for class gift proposals from Vermont Law School’s Class of 2008. More...