UW News

July 12, 2019

UW School of Law receives $3.75 million gift to support environmental law

UW News


The William H. Gates building at the UW School of Law.University of Washington

The University of Washington today announced a $3.75 million gift to the School of Law that will support UW Law graduates pursuing public interest environmental law, enhancing their opportunities to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to tackle some of Washington’s and the world’s most pressing environmental issues.

The gift establishes the John Diehl Endowed Fellowship, named for the late John Diehl, of Mason County. Fellowships will be awarded to UW Law graduates who are practicing environmental public interest law across a range of concerns, including natural resource conservation, wilderness protection and environmental health. It encourages partnerships with nongovernmental organizations working in these areas.

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Diehl for his support of our graduates and commitment to public interest environmental law,” said Mario Barnes, professor and the Toni Rembe Dean of the UW School of Law. “His gift creates a tremendous legacy that will enable us to recruit more top students to UW Law and encourages our students to fight for environmental justice, resource conservation and wilderness protections for generations to come.

“Some of our most pressing environmental issues will be decided by experts trained in law and policy. As a society, we benefit from legal advocates with a background in environmental law.”

The gift provides students an early career financial boost after graduation to pursue public interest environmental law.

“The big environmental challenges are many, which creates a rich field of legal need,” said Todd Wildermuth, director of environmental law at UW. “Diehl’s gift allows more students to jump right into the field and get to much-needed work right away.”

UW has been a leader in public interest environmental law for more than 50 years, when Professor Emeritus William Rodgers helped launch the field in the 1960s. Rodgers later co-founded the UW Environmental Law & Policy Clinic with a $1 million gift from Seattle attorney Steve Berman that provides students with more opportunities for practical experience and helps them support environmental justice in Washington. Berman’s generosity inspired Diehl’s gift, documents show.

The gift comes in the midst of the University’s most ambitious philanthropic campaign in its history, “Be Boundless – For Washington, For the World.” Student support is a core focus of the campaign, and donor support has helped establish 1,025 new scholarships and fellowships since the campaign’s beginnings.


For more information about the University of Washington, contact Jackson Holtz at 206-543-2580 or jjholtz@uw.edu.