School of Law receives $1.1 million gift from estate of alumnus

Gift to establish the David Westfall Matching Gift Program, which will create a new pool of endowed scholarships


March 11, 2016

A $1.1 million gift from a 1955 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law has been used to establish a matching scholarship program that will create an important new pool of endowed scholarships for qualified law students.

The matching gift program was established by the Board of Directors of the UMKC Law Foundation in the name of Kansas City lawyer and Law School alumnus David Irwin Westfall Jr., who left an undesignated estate gift to the school last year.

New gifts of a minimum value of $50,000 will be matched through the new Westfall program. Each $50,000 gift will then create a $100,000 scholarship endowment, which, once vested, will produce annual scholarships valued at about $4,000.

“Scholarships are essential to attract the most capable students to UMKC, especially in this highly competitive admissions environment,” said Ellen Suni, UMKC School of Law dean. “These students, who we expect to serve as leaders at the School as well as future leaders of the Bar, are vitally important to the School’s future success.”

Suni told the foundation board that the recipients of these scholarships will not only have excellent academic credentials, but would advance the School’s strategic initiatives.

Westfall, who died Jan. 28, 2015, at the age of 89,  left one third of his estate — approximately $1.1 million — to the School of Law.

He spent his career as an attorney practicing in Kansas City. Most recently, his offices were in the Livestock Exchange Building in Kansas City’s West Bottoms, but for many years his firm had space in the historic Argyle Building downtown.

Westfall was a member of St. Elizabeth Parish, as well as the Knights of Columbus. He served as president of the Catholic Alumni Club of the Greater Kansas City area and was a member of the Board of Trustees for Rockhurst University.

Before setting up his law practice in Kansas City, Westfall served in the United States Army in Europe during World War II. According to his obituary, Westfall corresponded with the men he served with during the war throughout his life.

Scholarships established through the Westfall Matching Gift Program will go to highly qualified, well-rounded students with leadership credentials.