A new competitive scholarship for “aspiring young lawyers” will be available through Doyon Foundation starting in fall 2018. Doyon, Limited President and CEO Aaron Schutt and his wife, Marissa Flannery, announced the establishment of an endowment for the new scholarship during the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic reception in June. Watch a video of the announcement.

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Both graduates of Stanford Law School, the couple partnered with the Doyon, Limited board to help establish the fund, and have made a five-year commitment to getting the scholarship in place. Schutt presented the first check, in the amount of $10,000, to Doyon Foundation Executive Director Doris Miller at the reception.

“Did you know there is not a single Alaska Native judge in our entire court system? And I’m not sure there ever has been,” Schutt told the audience at the reception. “In our Native community, there is a great need for more Native lawyers, so I am proud to work with the Doyon board on this.”

“I know very well the cost and benefits a legal degree can have for Native students,” said Flannery, who shared that she and her husband each graduated with more than $100,000 in student loan debts. “We’ve never regretted our choice, and we hope that other students will make that choice.”

“We believe our degrees have benefited our communities tremendously,” continued Flannery, a partner at Sonosky and Chambers, a law firm devoted to representing Native American interests. “I hope that other young, aspiring Alaska Native lawyers who receive this scholarship will also go back to work for their communities.”

Establishing the scholarship was also very personally meaningful to Flannery. “When Aaron came to me with this idea, it reminded me of my grandmother. She didn’t graduate from high school, but she always prioritized education. She made sure all eight of her daughters graduated high school, she encouraged them to go on to college and a number of them did.”

“Before I finished law school, she passed away,” Flannery shared. “One of her requests to her daughters was they sell her house and her truck, and put those funds into a scholarship fund. So I am excited about the opportunity to do something similar, to follow in her footsteps and continue to promote education.”

“We are very grateful for the vision and the dedication Aaron, Marissa and the Doyon, Limited board have shown by establishing this scholarship,” Miller said. “It will undoubtedly benefit many students who want to go into this important field, but who need the financial support to do so. Many of our students return to their home communities to work after graduating, so this is an investment with long-term benefits for us all.”

If you would like to join in supporting this new scholarship fund, you may make a secure online donation on the Foundation website; be sure to note “competitive law scholarship” in the “special instructions” box. Donations may also be made by mailing a check to Doyon Foundation at 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. Please note “competitive law scholarship” in the memo line.

For more information about Doyon Foundation, scholarship eligibility and application instructions, or opportunities to support students, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.