A Parting Gift: OU Law Alumnus James T. Comfort Leaves Lasting Legacy

January 17, 2020 | By Rachel Egli, Director of Events and Continuing Legal Education
Interior photo of law library

A recent gift to the University of Oklahoma College of Law from the late distinguished alumnus and longtime donor James T. Comfort (’57) will continue his family’s support of OU Law students for years to come.

Just before his passing in October, Comfort provided a $100,000 gift to OU Law toward the existing fund for the Comfort Top 10 Scholarships, which are awarded to the 10 highest-ranked students in each of the second- and third-year classes.

The donation continues the Comfort family’s long history of support and involvement with the College of Law. Since 1994, James Comfort and his brother, William T. Comfort Jr. (’61), have provided more than $7 million in scholarships to over 1,000 OU Law students.

“We are grateful to the Comforts for their remarkable gifts to the College of Law, which have been critical to our mission of making legal education affordable,” said OU Law Interim Dean Katheleen Guzman. “This most recent gift from James Comfort both honors and helps sustain his vision of bringing extraordinary students to the OU College of Law. We are grateful for his support of OU Law and are honored to be a part of his legacy.”

The Comfort brothers endowed the Comfort Scholarship Program to attract exceptional students to OU Law. In addition to the Top 10 Scholarship, the endowment provides the funding for the Comfort Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship for incoming students with exemplary academic qualifications and LSAT scores; and the Nathalie Pierrepont Scholarships, which are awarded based on merit, leadership and public service. 

James Comfort was a consultant in intellectual property and patent law. He was a former partner of the Dallas law firm Sharp, Comfort and Merrett and vice president of licensing for Affymetrix in Santa Clara, California. He began his career with IBM and General Electric and also previously served as patent counsel with Texas Instruments. He was a lifetime member of the OU Alumni Association and a member of the Seed Sower Society. 

In addition to their philanthropic support, the Comfort brothers have devoted their time to furthering the college’s mission. Up until his death, James Comfort served as a member of the OU College of Law Board of Visitors, and William Comfort continues on the college’s Honors Council. The brothers also provided effective leadership for the private fundraising campaign to expand the College of Law building in the late 1990s. In honor of their outstanding legal careers, they were both inducted into the college’s Order of the Owl Hall of Fame in 2012.

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