College of Law donors invest in value of moving forward

by Sarah Carlson,

  • Jim Averill and his 1991 Volvo
    Jim Averill ‘70, JD’73, and his 1991 Volvo

Consistency has proven key for Jim Averill ‘70, JD’73, and his wife, Pat. For 34 years, the Averills have given to the Willamette University Law Annual Fund, with 27 of those years being consecutive.

Jim and Pat Averill

Rebecca Lerback, director of development, noted their achievement and sent them each a Willamette gift in recognition of their support. Jim placed his gift, a license plate frame, on his old Volvo, which, coincidentally, already sported a DMV-issued Willamette plate. He wrote to Lerback to let her know the frame would be worn well.

Lerback, curious about the car, asked Jim the story behind it. According to Jim, it’s a 25-year-old standard transmission Volvo, with more than 200,000 miles on it. In 1991, the Averills purchased it for $17,000.

“We picked it up in Sweden and drove it around Scandinavia for several weeks,” Jim said. “It was shipped home free. We got one-and-a-half plane tickets to Sweden, a night in a fancy hotel, and a tour of the factory.”

Jim said although his grandkids think he should get a new car, he likes his old one. It’s a thing of value, and from his Willamette education to his trusty old Volvo, he knows what has been important in getting him where he wants to go in life.

“During my time in the College of Law, there were the courteous exactitude of Professor Courtney Arthur, the sterling Paulus bar review course and the many years that Willamette led the state in passing the Oregon Bar,” Jim said. “Current times have their own examples of excellence.

“I contribute to the College of Law and the College of Liberal Arts so that Willamette’s story can continue to be told. Thus, when a person hears the name ‘Willamette University,’ he will know that he has heard the name of a very special place.”

Pat Averill's honorary "PHT" degree

When Jim Averill, '70, JD'73, graduated from the College of Law, his wife, Pat, was awarded the "PHT" diploma, along with other wives of Willamette Law graduates. Jim said the “PHT” was tongue-in-cheek for "Putting Hubby Through" law school. Jim wasn't sure if the husbands of the five female graduates in his class received them as well, but noted that "Putting Her Through" would have also worked nicely as an abbreviation.

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