Linda L. Pence, '74
J.D., '74; Partner, Pence Hensel, LLC
It was the only law school that offered evening classes...I don’t think I would be a lawyer today if the school hadn’t been there.
Linda Pence—who worked her way through law school—thinks that working students today have an even tougher road than she did. Her understanding of the obstacles they face is part of what inspired her to create a scholarship for working law students.
For two years during law school, Pence was employed as a full-time Marion County caseworker. On any given day, she might deal with a mother being arrested, a custody dispute, or some other devastating family issue. At 5 p.m., she went to class at the law school. “It was the only law school that offered evening classes at the time,” she says. “I don’t think I would be a lawyer today if the school hadn’t been there.”
Linda isn’t the only McKinney alum in her family. Her brother, Michael (no relation to the current Indiana governor), graduated in 1979. But it was her late father, Woodrow, who inspired the name of the Pence scholarship.
After retiring from the U.S. Probation Department, Woodrow became the new placement director at the law school. “He just loved that job,” recalls Linda. “He was able to help students find professional positions thanks to the lawyers he knew from the probation department.”
When Woodrow passed away in 1982, Gerald L. Bepko, then dean of the McKinney School, proposed to honor his life and work by creating the Woodrow W. Pence Memorial Scholarship, an idea the Pence family embraced. Over the years, Linda and Michael have made gifts to the scholarship fund, and now, Linda has included the program in plans for her estate.