Hurst Horizon Scholarship Founding Donors Reflect on Two Years of Giving

As seen from the courtyard of Sterling Law Building, the main stairwell's exterior stone walls  exterior stone walls protrude from the brick façade

When Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst, Gene ’73 and Carol Ludwig, and David ’78 and Patricia Nierenberg came together to create the Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program, their mission was to eliminate the debt barrier that hinders far too many students from pursuing legal education at Yale Law School. Today, that shared vision exceeded expectations with what it has been able to accomplish in just two years.

“It’s a thrill to see so many students at the Law School benefiting from the Horizon Program today, and it’s a thrill to me — a double Yalie — to see our law school leading the country with this program,” said David Nierenberg, who, along with his wife, made the first gift to the Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program. “The program fits beautifully with the finest traditions of the Law School in that it blends tremendous scholarship with public service — the essence of the legacy of our Law School. This program continues that legacy and that leadership.”

Since launching in 2022, the Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program has covered the cost of tuition, additional fees, and health insurance in full for students with significant financial need. One in eight students — a total of 75 students — are recipients of the scholarship for this academic year thanks to the program’s expansion in 2023.

Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst pose for a photo
Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst

David continued, “Through the program, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with a number of the students who have received the scholarships. It is not only thrilling to hear their life stories and their career plans, but it gives me great pleasure to be able to offer to mentor them as they plot their next moves in their lives and their careers. Mentorship has always been a great blessing in my life, and I pay that blessing forward by spending time with them.”

The program’s namesake donors, Soledad and Robert Hurst, are especially thrilled to see other law schools such as Harvard Law School, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, Michigan Law School, and Stanford Law School following Yale’s lead to expand need-based aid programs.

Gene ’73 and Carol Ludwig pose for a photo with Dean Heather Gerken
Gene ’73 and Carol Ludwig with Dean Heather Gerken

“When Bob and I made the commitment to the Horizon Scholars, we were focused on the students at YLS, but we also hoped that this program would inspire other law schools to create their own scholarships helping those students who need it most,” said Soledad. “Seeing Harvard announce its own program recently compounded the joy we felt when we learned that Yale was able to expand the Hurst Horizon program to include students from families who live with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty line.”  

Carol and Gene Ludwig emphasized the importance of addressing economic disparity in higher education.

“There are few things more important for a healthy society and 21st-century educational landscape than basic fairness, and keeping young people from advancing not because of merit but because of the economic circumstances from which they come is pernicious,” they remarked in a statement. “If perpetuated, it eats away at the fabric of our society and the educational institutions that do not do something about it.”

David Nierenberg ’78 chats with YLS students
David Nierenberg ’78

“Of all the programs and nonprofits Bob and I have supported over the years, we agree that being a part of the founding contributors to the Horizon Scholars has felt the most meaningful,” Soledad said. “We are both deeply fortunate in how our lives ultimately turned out. To be able to help others at the early stages of their journeys, to hopefully inspire them to give back when they are able… these are tiny steps towards combatting systemic economic issues in our country.”

Read more about the Soledad ’92 and Robert Hurst Horizon Scholarship Program and its impact on Yale Law School students.