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Access to our campus and services is currently modified due to the coronavirus public health crisis. For the latest updates on evolving COVID-19 policies and resources for our campus community, click here.

Stepping Up to Help Our Students

Student Emergency Relief Fund logo


The adjective that precedes just about every event surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has never been more apt.

Recognizing these unprecedented times, California Western School of Law has announced the creation of the Student Emergency Relief Fund to support California Western students impacted financially by the current COVID-19 public health crisis.

Former California Western Associate Professor and former Chair of the Board of Trustees, Roy Morrow Bell ’74, who is now a retired Senior Partner of Troutman Sanders, contributed the first donation by transferring his endowed scholarship of $75,000 to the fund.

The fund will provide resources for basic living and educational expenses so that Cal Western students can continue their legal studies with as little disruption as possible.

A Castetter-era alum and Vietnam veteran, Bell knows only too well what it was like to face adversity. After graduating from the U. S. Naval Academy, Bell went straight to Vietnam. On his return, he was not well received, and as a result, his desire to go to law school presented some significant challenges.

“Dean Castetter was a Korean War veteran,” recalls Bell. “He loved vets. I was welcomed by him, and given an opportunity when I really needed it. I’ll always remember that.”

Stressing the importance of this fund, Bell says that if you break ties with the school and don’t appreciate what it’s done for you, you lose something special.

“Keeping ties with your school grounds you,” he says. “It reminds you of how simple things can change people’s lives and help them. When you stay connected and pay it forward, you remember those simple things, and you learn that even small gifts can be huge to somebody.”

The California Western Alumni Association Board of Directors has also stepped up to help, redirecting $75,000 to the fund.

“The COVID-19 crisis has hit us all hard, but none harder than our law students and post-bar alumni,” said Board President Spencer Scott ’14. “It is in unprecedented times like these that we all must come together to do our part. We are deeply committed to supporting our alumni and student community.”

Jeff Lewin, current Chair of the California Western Board of Trustees, has also committed to supporting the fund saying how Cal Western students need financial support now more than ever. He called on others to step forward and donate to the fund.

“The signature strength of our law school has always been the care and support our faculty, staff, and alumni have shown for our students, both in and out of the classroom,” said Lewin. “In this time of unexpected and unprecedented need brought about by the current pandemic, our students need our financial support more than ever. Please join me in donating to California Western's Student Emergency Relief Fund. Together, let's make a difference when our students need us the most!”

Bell says that the loyalty he has for his two schools—California Western and the U. S. Naval Academy—was born out of his wanting to give back for all they gave to him.

“Without my undergraduate degree, without all my experiences of nine years in the military, without law school, without my law degree, I would have been a very different person. I can’t forget that,” says Bell.

“If you don’t remember those who lifted you up or helped you, you will be the one missing out.”

To donate to California Western’s Student Emergency Relief Fund, click here. The only qualification for this fund is need, so your gift of any amount will truly make a difference.