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A Canceled Check

During last weekend’s School of Law reunion, returning members of the Class of 1960, back for their 50th, received special recognition during a Saturday morning gathering in the Millhiser Moot Court Room. Once they had been received a commemorative medal and greetings from W&L President Ken Ruscio and Law Dean Rodney Smolla, one of the class members, George Anthou, from Canonsburg, Pa., asked to address the assembly.

It seems George had brought a rather unusual bit of memorabilia from his law days with him: a canceled check from the First National Bank of Lexington in the amount of $282.50, made out to Washington and Lee University. The check, written on Feb. 1, 1960, was his payment for his final semester of tuition, plus the charge for his Davis Hall room.

As George correctly noted in a letter written to classmates: “Today, perhaps it might not even cover the cost of a couple of law books.”

George, who spent 46 years in private practice in his hometown of Canonsburg (the home of both Perry Como and Bobby Vinton), had numerous fascinating stories in his letter to classmates. One, in particular, stands out. He recalls how law professor Charles P. McDowell lectured the students on what their grades would really mean. George quotes Prof. McDowell as telling them: “Don’t worry about what grade may result from your studies because the ‘A’ students become judges, the ‘B’ students work for the state or federal government and the ‘C’ students become trial lawyers and earn all the big fees.” Fees large enough, no doubt, to make that $282.50 in tuition and room fees worth the cost.

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