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The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Alumnus to establish need-based scholarship for law students from diverse backgrounds

Hatchet File Photo
Rosa Celorio, the associate dean for international and comparative legal studies, said the new concentrations will distinguish GW Law graduates from others in the field.

A law school alumnus will donate $2 million to the University to be used for a scholarship fund for law students.

Kenneth Jaconetty, who earned a Juris Doctor in 1988, has made a gift of $2 million to create the endowed Kenneth E. Jaconetty Scholarship Fund, according to a University release. The fund will provide need-based aid to GW Law students who are interested in studying intellectual property law and are also enrolled in the Black Law Students Association or are members of a Native American tribe.

“The background you need to go into this profession can be more limiting in terms of race and ethnicity because typically to be a patent attorney,” Jaconetty said in the release. “You have to have a technical degree such as some sort of engineering or science-based degree.”

The law school currently has three active endowment funds, which are used to support scholarships, libraries, programs and students.

Jaconetty said the donation, which was inspired by recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations and his own experience at the school, will hopefully work to combat inequalities in patent law.

“I had a light bulb moment that this was a way I could make maybe a small difference in addressing some of the long-standing issues in this country,” he said.

The endowment fund follows a push by University President Thomas LeBlanc to provide additional financial aid for students.

Officials announced in October that GW had received $22.5 million in donations to use toward financial aid, including the University’s largest one-time donation, and officials would work to increase alumni donations throughout the University’s bicentennial.

Dayna Bowen Matthew, the dean of the law school, said Jaconetty’s scholarship fund will help promote a diverse student body.

“His gift will ensure that generations of talented students, regardless of financial resources, will have equal access to a top-quality GW Law education,” she said.

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