Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 26, 2021

UT receives $1M gift in the name of Summers’ firm

Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers attorneys Jimmy Rodgers, Jr., left, Jeffrey Rufolo, Jerry Summers, Benjamin McGowan and Marya Wegenka Schalk. - Photograph provided

A $1 million gift has been made to the University of Tennessee in the name of Chattanooga-based law firm Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers.

The College of Law will receive $900,000 to support its Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, its legal clinic, the Douglas Blaze Professorship and scholarships for students interested in pursuing legal careers in advocacy – one of the college’s primary areas of concentration.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga political science department will establish a scholarship with the remaining $100,000.

College of Law Interim Dean Doug Blaze says he hopes the gift will act as a challenge to others to offer additional funds to the university.

“We are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Summers, Rufolo and Rodgers and the support the firm and its members have given the College of Law over the years,” Blaze says. “This gift will advance our students’ understanding and appreciation of advocacy within the legal system.”

In recognition of the gift, Room 136 of the College of Law will be named the Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers Courtroom.

University of the South and College of Law graduate Jerry Summers founded the firm now known as Summers Rufolo & Rodgers in 1969. Summers is a lifelong resident of Chattanooga.

Partners at the firm include Jeffrey Rufolo, a 1988 UTC graduate and 1991 College of Law graduate, and Jimmy Rodgers, Jr., a 1991 graduate of the University of Tennessee and 1994 graduate of the College of Law.

Other Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers attorneys include Marya Wegenka Schalk, a 2002 graduate of Vanderbilt University, 2005 graduate of the College of Law and former appellate law clerk in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals at Knoxville, and Benjamin McGowan, a 1994 graduate of the University of the South and a 2001 graduate of Northeastern University College of Law.

Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers will also provide the funding for a short treatise on preparing a record on appeal which has resulted in landmark decisions in civil and criminal law in Tennessee and federal court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: The University of Tennessee College of Law