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Opperman Scholar Program


Drake's Opperman Scholar Program awards three full-tuition scholarships each year to outstanding first-year students.

Named in honor of Dwight D. Opperman, LW'51, the Opperman Scholar Program awards three merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to outstanding first-year students. The scholarships are renewable.

In addition, the program provides an annual grant of $10,000 to each Opperman Scholar to help pay for books and living expenses while attending Drake Law School.

Program Overview

The Opperman Scholar Program was created to identify and reward students of exceptionally high achievement and potential whose emphasis on learning influences and inspires others around them.

In addition to the Opperman Scholars currently enrolled at Drake Law School, there are more than 65 Opperman Scholar alumni around the world.

A reunion banquet for Opperman Scholar alumni and current students is held annually, in addition to other networking and social events planned throughout the year. An Opperman Scholar Association facilitates continued communication among alumni.

Selection Criteria

Candidates for the Opperman Scholar Program must meet the following criteria:

  • Be accepted as a first-year student at Drake Law School
  • Show evidence of superior academic record and potential
  • Achieve noteworthy law entrance exam scores
  • Demonstrate significant community and extracurricular experiences

Among the candidates who meet the above criteria, preference will be given to children of employees of West Publishing Company, West Group, and successor companies as well as children of Article III federal judges.

Selection Process

To be considered for this prestigious award, students need only to submit their application for admission to Drake Law School. The applications of all admitted students are screened by a committee of Law School faculty members to identify potential Opperman Scholars.

If you are the son/daughter of a West Publishing Company, West Group, or successor company employee or the son/daughter of an Article III federal judge, denote this information in an addendum to your application for admission.

Download the Dwight D. Opperman Scholarships Form.

About Dwight D. Opperman

The Opperman Scholar Program has been permanently endowed by a gift from Dwight D. Opperman, one of Drake Law School's most distinguished graduates and generous benefactors.

Opperman was chairman of Key Investments Inc. in Minneapolis. He began as editor and rose to president, chief executive officer, and chairman of West Publishing Company, the largest and most prominent publisher of law books in America. In 1996, Thomson Corporation, an international publishing company, acquired West Publishing Company, and Opperman became chairman emeritus of The West Group.

His contributions to American legal institutions were vast and have been widely recognized. Opperman served on the boards of many institutions including Drake University, the American Judicature Society, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University Law School, and the Supreme Court Historical Society.

His honors included Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees from Drake and Hamline Universities, the Herbert Harley Award (1984) and the Justice Award (1992) from the American Judicature Society, the first George Wickersham Founders’ Award from the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from Drake Law School.

Opperman was a generous supporter of the Drake Law School for many years. He endowed the Dwight D. Opperman Lecture in Constitutional Law, which has brought 11 present and former United States Supreme Court justices to campus. He was the major contributor to Opperman Hall and the law library, which is named in his honor. In addition, he funded the development of Wifvat Plaza, a major landscaping and sculpture project named in memory of his wife, the late Jeanice Wifvat Opperman, and her family.

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