Michael and Rebecca Berch know what it means to build a strong, vibrant community. They’ve done it throughout their lives as lawyers and educators — Rebecca is an ASU alumna, former law professor and currently serves as chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, while Michael was a member of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law faculty for 42 years.
Their commitment to a strong community is also evident in their longtime philanthropic efforts at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
In 1986, the Berches created a scholarship endowment for junior and senior law students that they funded through payroll deductions. At the time, Rebecca was the director of the law college’s writing program and Michael was a professor. The Berches reached the endowment minimum in 1992 and have given ever since. In June, Michael retired from ASU and the couple commemorated the occasion by giving an additional $50,000 to the college.
“Rebecca and I always believed that financial aid for students is a pressing need at the college of law,” says Michael. “We had always given each year to the college, but we decided that endowing a scholarship would have a more lasting impact.”
To date, the Berches’ scholarship endowment has supported more than 50 law students. The awards are presented annually to upper-class students who exemplify academic excellence as well as a commitment to improving the community and quality of life at the college.
A motivation for the Berches’ philanthropy has been ASU President Michael Crow’s leadership. “Even during difficult economic times, ASU has grown and thrived under President Crow’s leadership,” says Michael. “He understands the role of a professional law school in university life and in the cultivation of an informed, caring citizenry.
“We hope others will join us in helping students become informed citizens and in enriching our community through ASU.”