UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A Penn State alumna has recently made a gift to Penn State Law in University Park students who participate in the Public Interest Law Fund’s Summer Fellowship program. This program promotes the practice of law in the public interest arena.
Christie Tillapaugh earned her bachelor’s degree in international politics from Penn State, 1999 and her juris doctor from Dickinson School of Law, 2002, serves on the Penn State Law Board of Advisors and mentors law students — including those pursuing public interest law. Her $25,000 gift will create an endowment known as the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Public Interest Law Award at Penn State Law. Consideration for this award will be given to law students enrolled in Penn State Law who are participants in the Public Interest Law Fund’s Summer Fellowship Program for one academic year.
“I appreciate having opportunities to interact with the Penn State community and to think about ways in which we can support Penn State Law to create the leaders of tomorrow,” Tillapaugh said. “Serving on the board (of advisors) has given me a chance to meet with and learn more about the caliber of leadership, faculty, and students at the law school.”
Tillapaugh has strong ties to Penn State and the law community as a Penn State graduate and now as a shareholder and co-chair of the nonprofit practice at the law firm of Dentons Cohen & Grigsby in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her law career began in mergers and acquisitions and has transformed into providing general counsel and corporate governance and strategic transaction-related counseling to the nonprofit sector. She also co-chairs the gender equality committee of her local bar association.
“I am so grateful to Christie Tillapaugh for her leadership in support of public interest law and diversity and for all she contributes to our students and school,” said Dean Hari Osofsky. “This award will make an important difference in helping our students serve society and bridge the access to justice gap as they honor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.”
She draws her professional inspiration from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was “an advocate for equality and, essentially, a brilliant jurist,” said Tillapaugh. Ginsburg’s legacy is tied in large part to her advocacy for equal rights informed, in part, by her public interest work. “It seemed fitting to honor her life by finding ways that the law students of today can be better lawyers and advocates in the future by benefiting from positions in public interest law,” Tillapaugh said. “By establishing this endowment in her name, I hope to create a unique opportunity for the students to gain valuable skills while honoring her legacy.”