University News

Codilis Pre-Law Scholarship

December 16, 2015

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MACOMB, IL -- Many law school students often accumulate a lot of debt while in school, and one Western Illinois University alumnus wants to help ease that burden for WIU undergrads.

Ernest Codilis graduated from WIU in 1973 with a degree in political science, and from there, he continued his education at DePaul University in Chicago, where he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1976. Having been through law school, Codilis wants to help Western students graduate from WIU and enter law school without the debt that often accompanies higher education. To do so, he has established the Ernest J. Codilis, Jr. Pre-Law Scholarship.

"I established this scholarship to help students who aspire to become lawyers and who may not have the economic resources to realize their dream. A law school education today has increasingly become more expensive, and this scholarship will give a deserving student an opportunity to defray tuition expenses and will make a difference in that student's life. Giving is a good thing to do, and giving back for the advancement of one's profession is admirable," said Codilis.

The $10,000 annual scholarship will be awarded to a student with a pre-law minor at Western who is also a member of the Centennial Honors College. Preference will be given to those who demonstrate leadership in extracurricular activities, with a record of campus and/or community service.

"I want a student who wants to make a difference in the lives of others to receive this scholarship -- a student who has a passion for the law and who has given freely of their time in serving their community," he added.

Codilis is the founder and president of Codilis & Associates, P.C., an Illinois creditors' rights law firm. He concentrates his practice in the areas of mortgage foreclosure, creditor bankruptcy and real estate litigation. He is also a partner in law firms located in Clayton, MO, and Houston, TX. Codilis has more than 38 years of experience in these fields and is licensed to practice law in Illinois, Texas, Colorado and Florida. He is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Illinois Mortgage Bankers Association, the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, the Texas State Bar, the American Foreclosure Network, Legal League 100 and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International.

He is involved in many charities, such as Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, EGBOK Mission, Family Shelter Service, The Denis Savard Foundation, The Cara Program, Illinois Bar Foundation, Chicago Bar Foundation, Soaring Eagle Academy, World Vision and Bo Jackson's Give Me a Chance Foundation. Codilis also finds it important to give back to his alma mater.

"I look back on my experience at WIU and believe it has contributed to the success that I have had as a lawyer. WIU helped me mature emotionally and intellectually, and this is my way of saying 'thank you' for a job well done. I hope this scholarship will help bring stronger students to an already outstanding school. I truly look back on my time at Western as a positive life changing experience," Codilis said.

"This is an extremely generous and thoughtful gift by Ernie. It will go a long way toward helping one of our pre-law students graduate with little or no debt from Western before taking on the expenses associated with law school," said Brad Bainter, executive director of the Western Illinois University Foundation.

Posted By: Amanda Shoemaker, WIU Foundation & Development (
Office of University Communications & Marketing