Law school, Peace Corps partner to offer Coverdell Fellowship

by University Communications,

Willamette University College of Law and the Peace Corps have partnered to form a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. The program will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers who complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community while they pursue their studies.

Selected Coverdell Fellows will have the opportunity to work towards a Juris Doctor, Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution, Master of Laws in Transnational Law, or Master of Legal Studies. Willamette already has an existing Coverdell partnership between the Peace Corps and its Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

“Willamette's motto is ‘Not unto ourselves alone are we born,’ so I can’t imagine a better partner for the University’s College of Law than the Peace Corps Coverdell Program," says Curtis Bridgeman, Dean of the Willamette University College of Law. "Students who have served with the Peace Corps bring real world experience, leadership skills and a unique perspective to the classroom, enriching our program for everyone. They’re a great fit with our culture of service and rigorous academic program.”

Fellows selected for the program will receive baseline support $2,500 per semester plus eligibility for additional merit scholarships.

Internships in underserved communities are an integral part of each fellow’s degree. By sharing their Peace Corps experience and global perspective with the communities they serve here in the United States, returned volunteers are supporting the Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans' understanding of the world and its people. Professional placements at non-profits and government organizations also help students further develop their skills.

More than 60 years ago, Willamette established the first legal aid clinic in the West and Coverdell Fellows will have a large menu of internship, clinic and practical training options available to them.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University and now includes more than 80 university partners in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. For more information, visit

To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at Willamette University College of Law contact: Carolyn Dennis, Assistant Dean of Admission, at 503-370-6282.