Alumnus donates house in support of McGeorge School of Law’s advocacy programs

Daniel E. Wilcoxen, ’72, generously donated a house worth nearly $600,000 to the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. The gift was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Powell Fund with an additional $495k going towards the newly established Wilcoxen Advocacy Endowment for a total endowment of $990k supporting students in McGeorge’s award-winning Eglet Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution and $100k going to the Noël Ferris Endowed Scholarship.  


Wilcoxen’s gift will help cover expenses related to mock trial, moot court, and negotiation competitions, such as travel, competition fees, and other related costs. 


The advocacy programs enhance the school’s visibility through the recognition the students and teams receive.  


McGeorge School of Law finished No. 7 in the nation in the American Bar Association Competitions Championship for the 2022-2023 academic year. This ranking is based on law schools’ performance in all ABA-sanctioned competitions. McGeorge’s Trial Advocacy program was ranked No. 9 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2023, and the school’s moot program finished the 2022-2023 school year ranked No. 14 in the nation by the Blakely Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center. 


Photo of Daniel E. Wilcoxen.

Daniel E. Wilcoxen, '72.

Wilcoxen’s desire to give so generously to McGeorge School of Law stems from his experience as a JD student at McGeorge in the early 1970s.   


“When I applied to McGeorge School of Law, I was interviewed by Dean Gordon Schaber. He told me he felt my grades in my undergraduate courses were not as high as they should have been to be admitted,” Wilcoxen shared.  


“He asked me, ‘Why should I allow you to enroll when others have better grades than you?’ I told Judge Schaber that I would work harder than anyone else, and I would never let him down. When I graduated cum laude, he told me he was proud of me, and I said I would always support the school because of the opportunity he gave me to succeed. So – as I succeed – I try to give back,” Wilcoxen said. 


Wilcoxen has manifested his commitment to support the school through both service and philanthropy. In the late 1980s, he was an active member of the McGeorge Alumni Board of Directors, and later served as its president. In 2021, he helped launch and was one of the first members of the McGeorge Advocacy Board of Advisors.  


Today, his service extends to being a member of the Dean’s Cabinet, where he and other alumni provide strategic guidance to the dean on matters intended to further the mission of the law school. He has served on the Cabinet since 2019. 


“Wilcoxen’s loyalty and commitment to the success of students is inspiring, and it comes out every time I speak with him. Thanks to his generosity, we will further strengthen our already-stellar advocacy programs,” Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz said.  


Wilcoxen’s successes are highlighted in his long and outstanding legal career. After several years working in a defense firm, Wilcoxen opened his own practice in 1979. He is the founding and senior partner with fellow McGeorge alumnus, William Callaham, ’74, at Wilcoxen Callaham, LLP in Sacramento, California. The firm focuses on personal injury cases and, over the years, Wilcoxen has obtained over 80 multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements. 


In the legal community, Wilcoxen also gives back as an instructor for University of California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) and a faculty member of the University of San Francisco Law School in their advocacy program. 


For more information about estate and planned giving, please contact McGeorge’s Director of Development Quentin Graeber at or 916.739.7229.  


Wilcoxen used a unique gift structure for his donation. Retained estates allow a donor to receive a substantial tax deduction in the current year for an irrevocable future gift of a personal residence, while continuing to use and enjoy the property for the duration of the estate. Usually, the estate is retained for life, although Wilcoxen chose a term-of-years estate, further increasing his tax deduction. Retained estates are an especially popular way to save taxes when donors have a large taxable event in a single year.   



For more information about McGeorge School of Law, visit our website.  


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