Defining Moment: Couple donates to support law student success

March 25, 2022

Paying it forward

by Frank Garza

Coll Bramblett (J.D. ’80) applied to many law schools, but only the St. Mary’s University School of Law gave him a chance to become a lawyer, so he took it. 

He’s been grateful ever since. 

“If it wasn’t for St. Mary’s, I don’t know where I would be,” he said. “It has been my lifeblood to be an attorney.”  

Coll Bramblett met his wife, the Hon. Mary Anne Bramblett (J.D. ’81), while attending law school.  

Mary Anne Bramblett loved that St. Mary’s is close-knit. She got to know her professors and peers well because of it, which helped when law school felt tough. 

“We all need to get together as alumni and help participate.”

Coll Bramblett

“When I started law school, I wasn’t sure I could do it. After my first year, I learned that I could,” she said. “Not only did the professors in the school care about me, but I learned to take that compassion into the real world and care for other people.” 

Appreciating professors 

Though several faculty members made a difference for both Brambletts, all of them had one thing in common, “They all gave 150% to their students,” Coll Bramblett said. 

Coll and Mary Ann Bramblett

“Every professor cared about us, really worked with us,” he said. “They were very demanding, so you had to work your butt off and stay at it, but they were very giving, and they would stay right there with you.” 

That hard work would pay off for the Brambletts. Since graduating from St. Mary’s Law and making their home in the El Paso area, Coll Bramblett has enjoyed a long and successful career as a personal injury attorney. Mary Anne Bramblett served as judge of the 41st District Court in El Paso County from 1989 until her retirement in 2012. She was the first woman elected to a district court in El Paso County. 

With gratitude for the foundation St. Mary’s Law provided, the Brambletts donated more than $1 million to endow the Law Success Program’s second-year curriculum and to provide a scholarship — the Mary Anne and Coll Bramblett Scholarship — for second- or third-year J.D. students from El Paso.

The Law Success Program’s second-year curriculum consists of the Fundamentals of Law and Analysis course that focuses on honing legal skills, academic workshops and programs designed to tackle academic and professional topics of interest to second-year J.D. students, as well as personal coaching. 

Encouraging fellow alumni 

“We all need to get together as alumni and help participate,” Coll Bramblett said. “All you really have to do is look at yourself and ask, ‘Where would I be? Where would my family be if it wasn’t for St. Mary’s?’” 

Mary Anne Bramblett, who chaired the School of Law’s portion of The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign, said financial struggles should be one less thing students worry about while attending school. 

“I chose to give to St. Mary’s because it gave me so much in the first place,” she said. “I feel that when I do give back to the school, I can help give back to other students who struggled through the same things I struggled through.”  

The Brambletts hope that by giving, they can help inspire a new generation of lawyers to pay it forward.  

“Alumni are the lifeblood of the University and should become an integral part of the University,” Coll Bramblett said.

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