The Braly Family Foundation gift establishes the Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative

SMU Law Quad

SMU Law Quad


Gift will establish the Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative that will kick off in Fall 2021.

DALLAS (SMU) – A $130,000 gift generously given by The Braly Family Foundation in honor of Jennifer Collins, Dean of SMU Dedman School of Law, will establish the Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative at SMU Dedman School of Law. The initiative aims to enhance the leadership and professional skills of female SMU Law students and practicing attorneys, and address the unique challenges they may face during their education and throughout their careers. The gift consists of a $100,000 endowment and $30,000 for operational funding.

“We are extremely grateful to Angela and Doug Braly and The Braly Family Foundation for their generous support and commitment to our law school and women attorneys,” said Dean Collins. “It is truly an honor to be the namesake of an initiative that supports our female law students, alumnae, and the broader legal community.”

SMU Dedman School of Law alumna, Angela F. Braly ’85, co-trustee of The Braly Family Foundation and former chair of the board, president, and CEO of WellPoint Inc., a healthcare insurance company now known as Anthem, Inc., serves on the board of directors of The Procter & Gamble Company, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Brookfield Asset Management, and Exxon Mobil. Braly is also a co-founder of The Policy Circle, a grassroots network of women across the country gathering to discuss public policy.

“The Braly Family Foundation is committed to helping women attorneys with obstacles they face navigating their professional careers. As an alumna of the law school, I am thankful to Dean Collins for her work to support female law students and law alumnae,” said Braly. “As the first female law dean of SMU Dedman School of Law, we thought it only appropriate to name this initiative in her honor.”

Programming for the Women’s Leadership Initiative will kick off fall 2021 and will be managed by Director of Alumni Relations, Christine P. Leatherberry ’06, also an alumna and a family law adjunct professor at SMU Dedman School of Law.

“We are thrilled about launching the Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative,” said Leatherberry. “Plans for the initiative are already in the works based on valuable input from students and alumnae. We plan to collaborate with other programs and legal, business, and government leaders toward our universal goal of empowering women to thrive in their careers, help our communities in need, and move the needle on inequities still present in the legal profession.”

The initiative will address elevating women in leadership positions, retaining women in the legal profession, curing inequities in the legal field, enhancing rainmaking and networking skills, and providing solutions to gender barriers in the workplace to better equip law students and practicing attorneys to tackle these challenges, build successful lives in the law, and inspire change.


SMU Dedman School of Law was founded in 1925. With more than 17,000 alumni from more than 80 countries, it enjoys a national and international reputation of distinction. SMU Dedman School of Law is known for its academic rigor, as well as its excellent record in preparing students to practice in prestigious law firms, major corporations, and public service organizations. The faculty excel in their public engagement efforts, groundbreaking scholarship, innovative teaching, and international impact. The law school boasts eleven legal clinics and three academic centers with programs making an impact in the community and nationwide. SMU Dedman School of Law ranks as a top law school by National Jurist/preLaw in Business Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Intellectual Property Law, Tax Law, and Human Rights Law. It is ranked #30 by National Law Journal/ for the having the highest percentage of 2019 graduates in associate jobs and #20 for the highest percentage of 2019 graduates promoted to partner at the nation’s 100 largest law firms. It also has one of the country’s oldest LL.M. programs for graduates of foreign law schools, a program initially launched in 1949.