seal  Purdue News

November 7, 2003

Stuart & Branigin provides scholarships at Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – In the year marking its 125th anniversary, the law firm of Stuart & Branigin LLP will donate $300,000 to establish two Purdue Opportunity Award scholarships and create an assistance fund for students in need of computer equipment and supplies, it was announced today (Friday, 11/7).

The gift honors former Purdue trustees Alison E. Stuart and Roger D. Branigin, two deceased partners who played pivotal roles in the law firm's longevity and success.

A $120,000 portion of the gift will be used to establish the Alison E. Stuart Opportunity Award for Tippecanoe County and the Roger D. Branigin Opportunity Award for Johnson County. The two $60,000 endowed need-based scholarships will fund two students per year from each county.

The remainder of the gift will be used to establish the Stuart & Branigin Educational Assistance Fund to provide qualified students with computer equipment and other items necessary to support their education. Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of need and will be awarded a maximum of $1,000 in assistance.

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said support for the local portion of the Campaign for Purdue from community and business leaders is a key factor in helping the university reach its overall $1.3 billion campaign goal announced last fall.

"This gift is a real testament to the leadership and character of the partners of Stuart & Branigin, who have made an important decision to invest in the future of education at Purdue," Jischke said. "The members of this law firm have long played an integral role in shaping the history of Lafayette and the state of Indiana. We can now further commend their decision to help shape the future by touching students facing extreme hardships, providing them with an education that may have once seemed out of reach."

The Purdue Opportunity Awards Program, announced last spring, is a need-based scholarship created to help potential students with significant financial need, personal hardships or other circumstances that would prevent their continued education.

The program will be available to incoming freshmen at the West Lafayette campus beginning in fall 2004, providing one freshman from each Indiana county a total financial aid package consisting of federal, state and Purdue aid that will pay for tuition and room and board for the recipient's first year at Purdue.

For subsequent years, students will receive counseling from the university to help secure additional financial support and will be asked, in turn, to mentor the next group of students receiving the award. Recipients will be selected based on nominations from local educators and community leaders, who will work with Purdue to identify students with the greatest need.

Anthony S. Benton, legal counsel to the university, said he hopes his firm's gift will provide countless deserving students with the opportunity and assistance they need to succeed at Purdue.

"This gift enables us to not only honor Alison Stuart and Roger Branigin and the rich role they have played in shaping our community's history, but also continue our relationship with Purdue by working together to create opportunities for deserving Indiana students who truly need some help," Benton said. "We've enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Purdue for well over a century, and we hope our gift inspires other community leaders and friends of Purdue to provide private support for the vision laid out in the university's strategic plan to achieve preeminence."

Founded in 1878, Stuart & Branigin is not only the oldest law firm in Lafayette, but also one of the oldest in Indiana. The firm was established when Charles Stuart moved to Lafayette from Logansport, Ind., to Lafayette where his brother Thomas A Stuart was in partnership with John A. Coffroth. William V. Stuart subsequently joined his brother Charles, and in 1890 the three brothers combined their practices to form the Stuart Brothers law firm. The firm currently employs more than 30 lawyers in its Lafayette and Indianapolis offices.

Roger Branigin was born in Franklin, Ind., graduated from Franklin College and received his law degree from Harvard University. He practiced law in Franklin, Louisville and Lafayette before serving in World War II. After the war, he returned to Lafayette to practice law. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1956 before winning election to the position in 1964. He is remembered for abolishing the poll tax and the personal property tax on household goods, as well as repealing the "right-to-work" law.

The firm earned its reputation with the trial of railroad cases, representing Western Union Telegraph Company, American Security Company and other corporate pioneers in northwest Indiana. Stuart & Branigin has been instrumental in the formation of key Lafayette businesses, assisting with the organization of The Lafayette Life Insurance Company in 1905, Rostone Corp. in 1928, Lafayette National Bank in 1933 and National Homes Corp. in 1940. Stuart & Branigin also assembled the land package in the late 1980s for Subaru-Isuzu Automotive Inc.

Today, the firm continues to serve many clients, providing legal counsel in areas of public utility, insurance, manufacturing, health care, education and technology law.

For more information about the Purdue Opportunity Awards Program, contact Sarah C. Helm, assistant director of orientation in the Office of Admissions, (765) 496-2462,

Writer: Jesica E. Webb, (765) 494-2079,

Source: Carolyn Gery, (765) 494-8653,

Anthony S. Benton, (765) 423-1561

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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