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Gift from former Santa Clara law school dean and wife will benefit community law center

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-- May 18, 2004 --   Santa Clara University School of Law today announced a gift of $800,000 from George and Katharine Alexander, former SCU law school dean and his wife. The gift will benefit the East San Jose Community law center which will be renamed the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center at Santa Clara University School of Law.

The Law Center provides free civil legal services related to immigration, consumer rights, workers’ rights, workers’ compensation and small business development to low-income individuals residing in Silicon Valley.

Katharine Alexander practiced law for 25 years as a public defender for Santa Clara County and taught law courses for several years at San Jose State University.  George Alexander was professor of law at SCU for 34 years and served as dean of the law school for 15 years.

“Their generosity will provide enduring support for one of the law school’s most important community-based programs—a program that teaches SCU law students essential lawyer’s skills,” said Donald Polden, dean of SCU law school. “Renaming the center honors Katharine and George Alexander and their commitment to social justice,” he said. 

Under the supervision of trained clinical faculty, students at the center provide legal advice and representation. The center was founded in 1993 by a group of SCU law students as the East San José Community Law Center. “The law center educates students to become competent, ethical and compassionate attorneys,” said Kristin Nevarez, president of the law center advisory board and an attorney with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy. “These attorneys maintain a commitment to pro bono service throughout their legal careers, and provide 1,000 individuals per year with access to essential legal services,” she added.

The Alexanders issued a written statement which said in part: “It is our belief that in the same way that a person in a criminal case has a right to be represented by a competent attorney, so also a person with a civil problem who cannot afford legal assistance should have the opportunity to go to a competent attorney. The Community Law Center of SCU Law School not only serves our community with such assistance, but also broadens the perceptions of the law students who handle the cases under the guidance of experienced attorneys and professors. We hope this gift to this very talented program will continue and strengthen this service, enhance community and student understanding of its need and correct legal inequities that might otherwise go unchallenged.”

Cynthia Mertens, law professor at SCU law school and director of the law center said: “The Alexanders have supported numerous social justice causes throughout their careers and are dedicated to improving access to legal services in Silicon Valley and  instilling a life-long commitment to serve the community among law students,” she said.

About Santa Clara University School of Law

The SCU School of Law, founded in 1912, combines a tradition of excellence with a commitment to ethics, diversity, and social justice, and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Its students work in criminal and civil community law clinics and may earn certificates in intellectual property law, international law or public interest law, and LL.M. degrees in intellectual property law and international law. For more information, visit

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is on line at

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