The Blume Public Interest Scholars Program, originally named the Public Interest Law Scholars (PILS) program, began in 1988 as an enriched academic and professional development program for select students who intended to pursue public interest legal careers.
The program quickly became the foundation of a public interest community that 30 years later boasts a standalone public interest career office (OPICS), guaranteed public service summer funding, the top-ranked clinical program, and one of the most generous law school loan repayment assistance programs.
PILS itself has grown and adapted since its auspicious beginning. In 1996, the program began offering partial tuition scholarships in order to help minimize the debt burden of PILS members, and in 2017 expanded to offer up to ten full tuition scholarships. In 2018, the program received a naming gift from Bruce (L’80) and Ann Blume and is now known as the Blume Public Interest Scholars Program. In 2024, the program will once again shift to increase the size of the cohort to 20 students and to refocus the financial support for students towards summer and postgraduate funding. This shift comes in part due to the strengthening of Georgetown’s nationally leading Loan Repayment Assistance Program and the federal Income-Driven Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs, which empower borrowers committed to service to pursue public interest careers free from overly burdensome loan payments.
Though the contours of the program have changed over the years and the larger Georgetown Law public interest community has grown substantially, one thing has remained constant — the commitment of the scholars themselves. Today, the vast majority of PILS/Blume Scholars continue to serve in the public interest. And a number of PILS/Blume alumni have returned to Georgetown as faculty (Erica Hashimoto, L’97), administrators (Morgan Lynn-Alesker, L’07), speakers (R. Daniel Okonkwo L’05, Whiquitta “Kee” Tobar L‘15, Adina Appelbaum L‘15, Elizabeth Keyes L‘04, and Gretchen Rohr L‘03), and visiting scholars through the Blume Leaders in Residence program (Sarah Craven L’92).
Memorial Scholarships Supporting Blume Scholars
The Blume Public Interest Scholars Program has two dedicated memorial scholarships that support current Blume Scholars. The Financial Aid Office determines the annual enrolled Blume Scholar recipients of these scholarships based on submitted FAFSA materials.
Cedric Asiavugwa Memorial Public Leadership Endowed Scholarship Fund
The Cedric Asiavugwa Memorial Public Leadership Endowed Scholarship Fund was established by alumnus Winston Zee (L’81, L’84). He founded this scholarship in memory of Cedric Asiavugwa (L’19), a Georgetown Law student who tragically passed away on March 10 2019, as he was traveling home to Kenya for spring break. He was one of 157 passengers on Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, which crashed near Addis Ababa. He lived a remarkable life, and was taken from us far too soon.
Jan A. Stransky Memorial Scholarship Fund
The Jan A. Stransky Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by the family and friends of Jan A. Stransky, a beloved member of the Georgetown Law Class of 1989, who was a victim of inner city handgun violence during his first year of law school on May 1, 1987. Reflecting Jan’s spirit of commitment to public and community service, this scholarship is to be awarded to students participating in the Blume Public Interest Scholars Program.
If you are interested in making a donation in support of either of these scholarship funds, please click here and enter your chosen designation into the “Other” designation space.