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Endowment Encourages Public Service for DU Law School Graduates

A substantial gift from the estate of a Duquesne University School of Law alumnus will be used to encourage graduates of the law school to enter public service by providing loan repayment assistance.

Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty today announced The William B. Billock Loan Repayment Assistance Program, a $1.4 million endowment fund, which will provide approximately $70,000 for annual debt relief to Duquesne law school graduates who pursue careers in nonprofit public interest law or in local, state or federal government. The late Billock, a 1938 law school graduate, served as vice president of Gulf Oil Corp. and represented the company around the world as head of industrial relations.

“The Billock Loan Repayment Assistance Program will encourage more law graduates to pursue careers in public service law by helping them pay off their loans,” said Dougherty. “It will strengthen our public service and government agencies, benefit the people whom these organizations serve, and allow our law students and recent alumni to follow their hearts.”

As a Spiritan University, Duquesne carries out its founders’ ministry to serve not only students, but the poor and less fortunate. Through law clinics and educational programs, Duquesne students discover the vital roles that attorneys can play in shaping a better society.

However, some law alumni with outstanding loans find themselves torn between lower-paying careers that pursue social justice and higher paying jobs in the private sector. A typical private law school graduate may carry more than $1,100 per month in debt payments while the median annual starting salary for new legal aid attorneys is about $36,000. The Billock endowment will assist alumni pursuing public sector careers by relieving some of this financial burden.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.