On December 9, Illinois State Senator Scott Bennett died from complications of a brain tumor. Bennett, a 2002 graduate of the College of Law, worked as a prosecutor in McLean and Champaign Counties prior to being appointed to the General Assembly in 2015. He was reelected in November after being unopposed in the general election. As a member of the Illinois Senate, Bennett had been instrumental in passing legislation allowing comfort dogs to accompany children in court, a measure creating the ABLE savings program for people with disabilities, and amendments to the Pretrial Fairness Act that would eliminate cash bail in Illinois.
In the wake of his death, tributes came far and wide for Bennett, hailing him for his humor and his kindness. Hundreds turned out for his memorial service at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on December 19, which featured many eloquent speeches. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered his own speech, addressing the family directly and relating losing his own father at age 7 to what Bennett's wife and children are experiencing. “But I promise you, there will come a day when this pain eases,” said Pritzker, “especially because Scott was such a special and unique, and loving husband, and father and friend.”
Bennett was a great friend of the College of Law, frequently visiting and speaking with students and alumni in the years after his graduation. To preserve his legacy here, classmate Kristian Werling, co-head of the Private Equity Practice Group at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago, is endowing a new scholarship in memory of Bennett.
"Not only could Scott light up a room with his enthusiasm and warmth, but he brought an important political perspective to Springfield that gave him the ability to bring together conservative and progressive viewpoints to accomplish important tasks," Werling said of his friend. "He will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues and the State of Illinois."
The Senator Scott Bennett Memorial Scholarship for Government Service will help future generations of students at the College of Law learn and develop their legal skills in order to become a great public servant and tireless advocate, just like Bennett. If you would like more information about the scholarship fund, please contact Assistant Dean for Advancement Bill Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org.