UMKC School of Law

UMKC School of Law announces its first public service loan repayment program

Program honors late United States Western District of Missouri Judge John W. Oliver

Because of increased educational costs leading to substantial student loan debt, law school graduates sometimes forgo lower-paying public service jobs. But in October, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law established a program that could ease financial concerns for graduates entering the public service field.

For as many as three years, the Judge John W. Oliver Public Service Program will assist a UMKC law graduate employed in public service with student loan repayment. The Program is funded by the Judge John W. Oliver Foundation, a donor-advised fund of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Although the loan amount may vary, the anticipated overall award will be $5,000 over the course of three years – $2,000 during the first year and $1,500 during the last two years.

School of Law Dean Ellen Suni, Professor David Achtenberg, Kansas City attorney Robert Levy and Gertrude Oliver, widow of Judge Oliver started the program as a memorial to Judge John W. Oliver, who served as United States District Judge for the Western District of Missouri.

“I was a law clerk for him (from 1971 to 1973), and he had a gigantic personal impact on everyone he knew,” Levy said. “Then, there’s the issue of social justice and public service. Every city is desperate for young people who can be of service. Judge Oliver exemplified the best tradition of public service. He cared about young people, and he wanted them to get the personal value that comes from serving others. His family and his law clerks established the Foundation to perpetuate the Judge’s memory, and we can think of no better memorial than to make it possible for young people to follow his lead in serving others.” The first recipient of the public service fellowship will graduate from the UMKC School of Law Class of 2009.

The recipient will be chosen based on his or her commitment to public service, amount of unpaid law school loans, anticipated salary from public service employment, family income and other required expenditures, as set for in the Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP) eligibility requirements.



“Every city is desperate for young people who can be of service.”

Robert Levy