Vanderbilt Law School Announces $17.5 Million Bequest from W. Weldon Wilson, JD’86, to Extend Scholarship Program

Vanderbilt Law School Advisory Board member W. Weldon Wilson, JD’86, and his wife, Elaine, have documented a $17.5 million bequest to support their existing Weldon Wilson Fellowship at Vanderbilt Law School. The scholarship was established in 2011 in honor of Weldon’s 25th reunion. The Wilsons are making this new commitment to ensure that the law school will continue to be able to recruit and support exceptional students.

Weldon Wilson is Vice President of Resolution Life Group Holdings, a global life insurance group focused on acquiring and managing portfolios of life insurance policies. Previously, Wilson served on the board of Swiss Reinsurance Company and as CEO of Swiss Reinsurance’s North American life reinsurance business. He is also a past chair of the law school advisory board. In 2020, he was honored as the recipient of the law school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

“We are deeply grateful for the Wilsons’ enduring commitment to Vanderbilt Law School,” said Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier. “This new legacy will ensure that future generations of law students will have access to Vanderbilt’s life-changing education and training.”

The Weldon Wilson Scholarship is awarded with preference to graduates of public colleges and universities; Wilson and his siblings all received their undergraduate degrees from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, their hometown.

“I chose to attend a public university for my undergraduate degree based on tuition, but I aspired to attend Vanderbilt Law School for its excellent reputation and national focus. The opportunities provided by Vanderbilt and the skills I learned have been crucial to my career,” Wilson said. “With this bequest, Elaine and I hope to be able to provide similar opportunities to others.”

Current recipient Kristen Smith, Class of 2023, said, “I loved my time at Vanderbilt Law School and feel so lucky to be able to graduate from Vanderbilt. This scholarship made it possible, and I appreciate it very much. Smith articled with a federal judge after his freshman year and accepted a summer associate position with King & Spalding in Chicago this year.

Due to the Wilsons’ initial donation to the scholarship in 2011 and their continued investments over the following years, 15 students have received support from the fund. The couple made this most recent engagement, in part, to honor Wilson’s 35th reunion. In addition to his philanthropic support of Vanderbilt Law School, Wilson is also a champion of alumni involvement. He does not hesitate to encourage his fellow graduates to get involved, whether through financial support or through volunteering.

“Weldon is a model graduate of Vanderbilt Law School. He is accomplished, committed, generous and self-effacing,” said Chris Guthrie, dean of Vanderbilt Law School and John Wade-Kent Syverud professor of law. “I am very grateful for his support and his friendship.”

Wilson is licensed as a lawyer in Texas.

Jon J. Epps