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Law library namesake starts study abroad fund to honor retiring professor

Monday, July 27, 2015
Doug and Laura Wheat
Douglas, L'74, and Laura Wheat

LAWRENCE — A Texas couple with a history of generosity to KU Law is honoring a retiring professor by supporting one of his passions.

Douglas and Laura Wheat, of Westlake, Texas, donated $100,000 to create the Professor Michael Davis Legal Study Abroad Fund. Davis was one of several young faculty members who influenced Doug Wheat during law school. The two have remained friends in the decades since and worked closely together during the KU First campaign from 1998-2004.

“When I was at KU Law, I was working three jobs and finished law school in two years instead of three. Travel was not an option,” said Wheat, L’74. “I’ve done a lot of traveling since then, though, and I know Mike believes strongly in the value of studying abroad. We thought this fund would be the best way to show the important role Mike played in my life.”

The Wheat name is a familiar one at KU Law. In 2002, the Wheats pledged $1 million to establish the Douglas D. and Laura L. Wheat School of Law Opportunity Fund, which resulted in the naming of the Wheat Law Library. They also created the Fred B. Lovitch & Michael J. Davis Law Fund, which has evolved into a student scholarship source.

“Laura and I have been very blessed,” Wheat said, “and when you’re blessed you need to give back.” Douglas Wheat is managing partner of Southlake Equity Group and has served in leadership roles at a variety of investment companies over the course of his career. Most recently, he became chairman of the board at Overseas Shipholding Group Inc., one of the largest tanker companies in the world.

Mike Davis retired in May after more than 40 years on the KU Law faculty. As a professor and dean, he initiated international exchange and study abroad programs and taught law in countries around the world.

If you would like to contribute to the Professor Michael Davis Legal Study Abroad Fund, please contact Kristen Toner at ktoner@kuendowment.org or 785-832-7321.