May 23, 2022 — Upon their graduation from Penn State Dickinson Law, Annie (class of 2005) and Andrew (class of 2004) Cordo immediately began giving back to the school. It was a conscious decision, one they made together and a tradition they have continued more than 15 years after leaving Carlisle.

Annie, Andrew (holding Tilly), Pippa and Ruby Cordo.

They prioritize donations to Dickinson Law for many reasons. For one, Annie received a partial scholarship funded by alumni of the Law School, and she feels compelled to pay that forward. For another, both she and Andrew credit Dickinson Law for setting them on their career paths. And, of course, the pair met at Dickinson Law during his second and her first year.

“We took an assessment of what we care about,” said Annie. “We love dogs, so we give to a lot of animal charities. And another thing we both said is, you know, we care about Dickinson Law. It was very near and dear to our hearts at the time we decided to begin giving, and it continues to be now. We had a great experience there.”

Since graduation, the Cordos have become among the youngest members of Dickinson Law’s John Reed Society, which recognizes the most generous lifetime donors to the Law School. The Cordos recently added a new dimension to their giving, establishing an annually funded scholarship for students who contribute to the diversity of the student body.

“We thought about how much my scholarship benefitted me for the three years I was there, and we thought, ‘Can we do this for another student?’” said Annie. “And we decided yes. Dickinson Law was the foundation of our careers. We would not be where we are without Dickinson Law.”

Increasing diversity in the bar

The Cordos believe representation matters, and they see a lack of representation of women and those from minoritized populations in the Delaware bar that concerns them. “We saw funding a scholarship as a way to help people who aspire to be lawyers,” said Andrew. “Doing our part to increase the diversity of the Law School means, as they graduate, more diverse lawyers in practice.”

The Cordos believe a more diverse law profession improves outcomes for clients and their communities, which they have experienced at their own offices. Since 2015, Annie has performed general counsel work for state agencies at the Delaware Department of Justice, and she has noticed the advantages of attorneys approaching issues from varying perspectives.

“Having different people at the table to talk to and get thoughts and opinions, people who have diverse backgrounds and ideas and come from different cultures, will give you more diverse legal advice,” said Annie. “It is beneficial when people come in and see lawyers who look like them and represent them.”

Andrew agrees. He notes that law is about collaboration. “By improving diversity, you get more viewpoints, which makes the advice given to clients better. It allows us to come up with new ideas for how to solve problems,” said Andrew, who is of counsel in the Litigation Practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's Wilmington, Delaware, office.

To the Cordos, “diversity” has many meanings. It encompasses gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, skin color, and more, including nontraditional students such as parents and older adults. Annie’s own mother entered law school in her 40s, eventually transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to practicing family law.

Dickinson Law continues to play an important role in the Cordos’ lives. They have both returned to Carlisle to speak to classes, and they have served on alumni boards. “We love talking about ways we can help make the school better, and we love giving back,” said Andrew.

The scholarship is yet another way they want to stay involved, and Annie hopes others will consider making similar donations. “We should all think about who we want the next generation of lawyers to be. By donating to scholarships and supporting the school, you support that next generation to help them get the education that put you where you are today,” said Annie.

The Cordos’ investment in the fund moves Dickinson Law closer to meeting its goal of raising $16.4 million by June 30, 2022. Their support advances "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit