Chicago Daily Law Bulletin on Cafaro Scholarship Gift

Supporting a New Generation

A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School who was the first person in her family to go to college has given $4 million to the school for scholarships.

The gift from Debra A. Cafaro, chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Ventas Inc., will provide full-tuition, three-year scholarships to 22 students over nineyears, the school announced this week.

Cafaro, 55, whose father was a postman and mother was a homemaker, said she made her gift “to give other students the opportunity that I had and to show my gratitude to the law school for what they did for me.”...

With sacrifice, her parents were able to send her to the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in government.

She applied to several law schools, including the University of Chicago Law School. She was interested in the city of Chicago and the law school’s reputation for “really powerful idea-generation.” It had “so much intellectual firepower.”

The law school, Cafaro said, completely transformed her.

“It was the first place I was (at) that it was really cool to be smart,” she said. “It really gave me confidence and what I call a toolkit for approaching problems and for really solving problems.”

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