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$1.1 million gift to create Civil Liberties Project at William & Mary

  • Civil liberties project
    Civil liberties project  A $1.1 million gift from alumni Timothy P. Dunn '83 and his wife, Ellen R. Stofan '83, will establish the H. Stewart Dunn, Jr. Civil Liberties Project at the College of the William & Mary, officials announced today. Here, H. Stewart Dunn Jr. and William & Mary President Taylor Reveley pose for a photo.  Photo by Gretchen Bedell
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A $1.1 million gift from alumni Timothy P. Dunn ‘83 and his wife, Ellen R. Stofan ’83, will establish the H. Stewart Dunn, Jr. Civil Liberties Project at the College of  William & Mary, officials announced today.

The project -- an interdisciplinary effort that will involve faculty from both the Arts & Sciences at the College and the William & Mary Law School -- is designed to help William & Mary students develop a deeper understanding of the civil liberties afforded by the U.S. Constitution and to encourage them to become civically engaged in supporting and defending them.

Dunn, a member of the William & Mary Board of Visitors, serves as director of strategic planning of the Piedmont Environmental Council of Virginia. Stofan, a trustee of the College of William & Mary Foundation, is a planetary geologist with Proxemy Research in Maryland. The civil liberties project will carry the name of Dunn’s father, H. Stewart Dunn, Jr., a former member of the national Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and a partner with the law firm of Ivins, Phillips & Barker in Washington, D.C.

“This is a wonderful gift from two stalwart graduates of the College, both of whom have been extraordinarily generous to their alma mater with their time, talent and treasure,” said President Taylor Reveley. “The project they have created will support William & Mary’s strategic plan in two key respects – encouraging interdisciplinary efforts across the campus and spurring our students’ civic engagement.”

The project will provide support for undergraduate and law student research projects, as well as summer internships and post-graduate fellowships with organizations that support or protect civil liberties.  It will also support guest lecturers and collaborative teaching of civil liberties between the Law School and undergraduate academic programs.

“William & Mary strives to give students hands-on research experiences and educate them to be active citizens,” said Arts & Sciences Dean Carl J. Strikwerda. “This project is a major contribution to this endeavor.  Tim and Ellen’s generosity will provide both law students and Arts & Sciences undergraduates the opportunity to delve deeply into the history and law of civil liberties, one of the most important bulwarks of our nation’s freedoms.”

Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas said that conversations with Dunn about his father’s work grew into a plan to create a program at the College to carry forward the father’s legacy.

“The H. Stewart Dunn Jr. Civil Liberties Project will make a significant difference in the education of students throughout the College of William & Mary,” said Douglas. “Not only will this project enhance our collective understanding of our basic civil liberties, it will also provide rich opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience defending and supporting those civil liberties.”

A nationally recognized expert in the areas of tax law and trusts and estates, H. Stewart Dunn, Jr., received his B.A. from Yale University and J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.  He has practiced law at Ivins, Phillips & Barker for more than 50 years and was named in 2010 as one of the nation’s most outstanding attorneys in Best Lawyers in America. Dunn also served on the board of directors and as an officer of the Virginia and national capital area chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and was a member of the board of directors of the national organization from 1988 to 2000 and again from 1996 to 2005. He has actively participated in deliberations that formulate ACLU policies and positions, and has provided significant financial support to all three organizations, including through a foundation he created and funded to honor his son, Tony, who died in 1980.

“My father has devoted a great amount of energy to the effort to protect civil liberties, and also is a tireless advocate (and debater) on the subject,” said Timothy P. Dunn. “My wife Ellen, our oldest child (Ryan ’10), and I are all proud William & Mary graduates.  Our entire family wanted to recognize my father’s work by making a gift to fund a project that will continue his efforts into the future. The College has existing programs that will support the success of this new initiative, and we feel that the H. Stewart Dunn, Jr. Civil Liberties Project aligns perfectly with the College’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, faculty-led student research, and community service.”

In addition to his commitment to promoting civil liberties, H. Stewart Dunn, Jr., has been involved in civic activities since the late 1950s. He has been a member of the Alexandria (Va.) Planning Commission since 1995, serving as its vice chair since 2008. He has been a trustee of the Historic Alexandria Foundation since 1990 and has served as a member of the Alexandria Democratic Committee since 1980.

“William & Mary, with its strong historic ties to the founding fathers, is the perfect place to engage students in understanding and defending the rights afforded to them by the Constitution,” said Dr. Ellen R. Stofan.

Timothy P. Dunn, who was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2008, received his B.A. from William & Mary in 1983, and his M.B.A from Northeastern University in 1985.  He retired in 2009 as a senior vice president and portfolio manager of Capital Research Global Investors, part of The Capital Group Companies, and currently serves as the director of strategic planning of the Piedmont Environmental Council.  Among his civic endeavors, he is a trustee of the Highland School in Warrenton, Va., and of The Nature Conservancy of Virginia.  He is a member of the William & Mary President’s Council, National Campaign Committee, and the International Advisory Committee of the Reves Center for International Studies. 

Stofan received her B.S. from William & Mary in 1983, and her Ph.D. from Brown University in 1989. She is vice president of Proxemy Research in Maryland and also is an honorary professor at University College London. She conducts research on the geology of Venus, Mars, Titan (the largest moon of Saturn), and Earth. She also was co-investigator on a radar sounder for the Mars Express Mission, and is an associate member of the Cassini Mission to Saturn Radar Team. Stofan is the co-author, with former astronaut Tom Jones, of the book Planetology: Unlocking the Secrets of the Solar System (National Geographic Society, 2008). In addition to serving as a trustee of the College of William & Mary Foundation, she serves on the boards of the American School in London Foundation and the historic preservation group, the Friends of Rectortown.