Vanderbilt Law School announces $17.5M bequest from W. Weldon Wilson, JD’86, to extend scholarship program

W. Weldon Wilson, JD’86
W. Weldon Wilson, JD’86

Vanderbilt Law School Board of Advisors member W. Weldon Wilson, JD’86, and his wife, Elaine, have documented a $17.5 million bequest to support their existing Weldon Wilson Scholarship 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 outstanding students.

Weldon Wilson is vice chair of Resolution Life Group Holdings, a global life insurance group focusing on the acquisition and management of portfolios of life insurance policies. Previously, Wilson served on the executive board of Swiss Reinsurance Company and as CEO of Swiss Reinsurance’s North American life reinsurance business. He also is a former president of the Law School’s Board of Advisors. 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,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “This new bequest 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 a preference for 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 elected to attend a public university for my undergraduate degree based on tuition cost but aspired to attend Vanderbilt Law School for its excellent reputation and national focus. The opportunities Vanderbilt provided and the skills I learned have been crucial to my career,” Wilson said. “With this bequest, Elaine and I hope we can provide similar opportunities for others.”

Current recipient Kristen Smith, Class of 2023, said, “I have loved my time at Vanderbilt Law School and feel so fortunate to be able to receive a degree from Vanderbilt. This scholarship has made that possible, and I am so appreciative.” Smith interned with a federal judge after her first year and accepted a summer associate position with King & Spalding in Chicago this year.

Because of the Wilsons’ initial gift to the scholarship in 2011 and their continuing investments in the ensuing years, 15 students have received support from the fund. The couple made this most recent commitment, in part, to honor Wilson’s 35th reunion. In addition to his philanthropic support of Vanderbilt Law School, Wilson is also a champion for alumni involvement. He is quick to encourage his fellow alumni to get engaged, whether through financial support or by volunteering.

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

Wilson is licensed as an attorney in Texas.