Skip to main content

Dayton Docket

Lorraine O'Sullivan

Completing Her Journey

Lorraine O’ Sullivan had been out of law school barely a year, but you could already see where she was headed.

She had recently been sworn in as an assistant state's attorney in Prince George's County in Maryland and was planning a wedding with her fiancé who she’d met while both were students at the University of Dayton School of Law.

But it wasn’t just that she was going places. It was how she was getting there.

“Lorraine was a very kind, caring person who valued relationships with her family and friends,” says her sister Karen. “She was incredibly loyal, fun to be with and someone to truly admire.”

Adds her brother Kevin, “She was always focused on the good in the world, in every person and in every moment.”

But Lorraine never got a chance to enjoy the life she’d worked so hard to lay out for herself.

She was killed on her way home from a doctor’s appointment when a semi-truck smashed through a median wall and hit her car.

Overcome with grief and wanting to do something to keep her memory alive, Lorraine’s family and friends started a University of Dayton School of Law scholarship in her name.

“Choosing Dayton Law was the natural thing for us to do,” says Lorraine’s mother, Etta. “She treasured her years there and was so grateful for all the wonderful friends, professors and knowledge she acquired.”

Adds Kevin, “The whole family and community came together and we established the scholarship through fundraisers like 5k runs held in her memory.”

That was in 1992. Now more than 30 years later, the scholarship continues to be awarded to students at the School of Law.

“We are so blessed and thankful to be able to carry on with this program,” Etta says. “It is a very fulfilling and rewarding project that helps enrich hardworking and involved students.”

Students like 3L Nathalie Kirkland, who received the scholarship for her 2L year.

“I’m really appreciative of it,” Nathalie says. “I felt so honored. It was a huge privilege they extended to me. It made planning and financing the start of my 2L year a little bit easier and gave me more freedom to accept an internship or externship I wouldn’t otherwise be able to accept.”

In addition to her law classes, Nathalie volunteers with the Bergamo Center, helping with retreats for Catholic high school students. She also does work with the Kettering Breast Center. Her mom is a breast cancer survivor. 

“I find a lot of joy and grace and community through the programs I volunteer with,” Nathalie says.

Even though she never got to meet Lorraine, Nathalie says she feels a connection with her.

“When I read about her, I felt like the qualities she had were important qualities I have,” Nathalie says.

For Lorraine’s family, her mom, Etta, her step-mom, Carrie, her father Andrew, her sister, Karen and her brothers, Brian, Kevin and Robert, the scholarship is a way to help Nathalie and other law students who are on the journey Lorraine never got to finish.

“While it's very sad that she didn't get the chance to fulfill her dreams, knowing there is a bit of Lorraine's spirit being passed on to other incredible women with similar aspirations is the greatest gift,” Karen says.

Previous Post

The Cat Who Went To Law School

See how students, faculty and staff at the University of Dayton School of Law and others on campus and in the community joined together to care for an unexpected visitor.

Read More
Next Post

Law School In Memoriam 2023

Remembering the University of Dayton School of Law alumni who passed away in 2023.
Read More