Monday, June 11, 2001

UC scholarship to aid XU grads


Cross-town grant in memory of lawyer

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Affection for lawyer Leo J. Breslin is fueling Cincinnati's first cross-town scholarship. The annual grant will go to a graduate of Xavier University who enters the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

        Former Tennessean Blake Somers, 21, now a Blue Ash resident, is the first recipient. He was chosen recently from among a half-dozen candidates by the law school admissions dean and committee and recommended by XU's pre-law adviser.

        Officials at both schools said the Breslin scholarship is the first UC graduate scholarship dedicated to XU grads but one of two dozen memorial funds at the law school.

        Mr. Breslin, 71 when he died last year of cancer, was an active alumnus of XU and UC law school. He was a former managing partner and president of the Lind- horst & Dreidame law firm in downtown Cincinnati.

        “Leo Breslin embodied the finest
qualities our profession aspires to,” law school Dean Joseph Tomain said. “As Leo's scholarship encourages more well-grounded young people to pursue the law at UC, we will strive to perpetuate his model.”

        The fund had its origin in conversations between law school development director Pat Branham and Mr. Breslin, who had attended the law school on scholarship.

        She said he wanted to follow the example of 10 other living lawyers who established scholarships.

        Mr. Breslin died before a fund was created, but Ms. Branham asked law school alumnus Louis F. Gilligan, a partner at Keating Muething & Klekamp downtown, about establishing a memorial scholarship.

        Mr. Breslin's friends and associates responded with enthusiasm.

        The Breslin fund is a way to keep bright students in Cincinnati, Mr. Gilligan said. UC's law school is “our farm club ... to the extent that the law school does well, it's great for our community,” he said.

        The cross-town aspect was consistent with Mr. Breslin's passion for XU basketball and the annual game against UC, said William N. Kirkham, president of Lindhorst & Dreidame.

        The initial goal is $200,000. It takes an endowment that large to pay one year's in-state tuition. (That was $8,600 in the 2000-2001 academic year but this fall's tuition won't be set before the June 20 board meeting.)

        So far, gifts and pledges exceed $55,000 but Ms. Branham expects the total to rise before Mr. Somers starts class.

        There hasn't been enough money or time to cover his full tuition, Ms. Branham said. “We will award everything we can.”

        Even if it's only $1,000, “that would be lovely,” Mr. Somers said.

        Because so much depends on first-year performance in law school, students are urged to avoid outside jobs, Ms. Branham said. With that in mind, Breslin grants will be limited to first-year students.

       



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