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Drake Law celebrates $3 million estate gift

February 18, 2015

This week Drake Law celebrates the generous gift of over $3 million to endow law scholarships from the estate of William (Bill) Litton, LW’48. Litton passed away in July 2014. The $3.14M endowment will allow Drake Law to award an additional $157,000 in scholarships each year.

In total, Drake Law awards over $4 million in scholarship dollars to 60% of the student body. A portion of those gifts comes from philanthropy while the rest is covered through the operating budget. Litton’s gift tremendously impacts the lives of students at Drake Law and their future when they leave.

“We have a clear mission and passion to succeed by teaching the law through theory complete with real skills training. We do these things and so much more, says Drake Law Dean Ben Ullem. “Drake is able to boast many different recruiting strategies, including employment and Bar passage rates above the national average, a consistent ranking as a ‘Best Value Private Law School’, and more. This gift makes a huge impact as often times the final deciding factor for students comes down to one thing – scholarships.”

Litton grew up in Lineville, Iowa. An only child, his father was a farmer and his mother a college graduate with an interest in music. He served in the armed forces for some time, stationed primarily in Hawaii, but never saw battle. Following a teaching degree from Northwest Missouri State University, Litton came to Des Moines to go to law school. He began his career working for Fred Hubbell and then worked for RG Dickinson as a broker. He married Carolyn when he was in law school at Drake and made a life in Des Moines.

Litton was extremely proud of his law degree from Drake and his memory will be honored through students who are able to attend because of his generosity.

Wayne Wilson, LW’73, attorney for the Litton estate, is pictured here issuing the gift Dean Ben Ullem. Wilson practices with Wilson, Deege, Despotovich, Riemenschneider, & Rittgers in Des Moines.