The University of Mississippi School of Law honors its Hall of Fame classes every spring during Law Weekend. The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding alumni of the law school who have, through their professional achievements and/or service to the school, brought honor to the law school. The only requirement is that the recipient be a graduate of the UM law school. Nominees cannot, however, be elected or appointed politicians or judges who are currently holding office. Others who cannot be considered for the Hall of Fame are current law school faculty and staff, university employees who were employed during the fiscal year the nominations are submitted and current Alumni Association and Law Alumni Chapter officers.
Bylaws provide for up to five selections each year with no more than two of those selections being deceased alumni. Deadline for nominations is July 1st.
Information on Hall of Fame submission is available at the bottom of the page, under the past inductees.
Past Hall of Fame Inductees
Guthrie T. Abbott, Sr.
Guff Abbott is professor emeritus at the University of Mississippi School of Law. His relationship with Ole Miss began in 1960 when he arrived in Oxford as a freshman. During his time as an undergraduate he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. His academic and leadership abilities were recognized with memberships in Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. After receiving a B.A. in mathematics, Abbott enrolled in law school at Ole Miss. There he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal, a publication in which he would remain involved for almost three decades. In 1967, Abbott obtained his J.D. degree and moved to Gulfport where he would practice law over the next few years.
In 1970, Abbott returned to Oxford to become a member of the law school faculty. During his time as a faculty member, he attended Harvard University and was a Fellow in Law and Humanities in 1975. In 1991, he was selected at the first recipient of the Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada Endowed Lectureship in Law. In 1984, Abbott and fellow faculty member, Bob Weems, crafted one of the most popular CLE programs titled, “Summary of Recent Mississippi Law.” For more than 25 years, he also served as faculty advisor to the Mississippi Law Journal. From 1985 to 1987, Abbott answered the call when his leadership was needed by agreeing to serve as interim dean of the School of Law. In 2001, Abbott was recognized as the University of Mississippi School of Law Alumnus of the Year. His true talents and passion were most evident in the classroom. He was elected by the Law School Student Body as Outstanding Professor of Law at the Ole Miss law school in 1974, 1976, 1984, 1992 and 2000. In 1986 he was awarded the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher award, presented annually to only one instructor at the University of Mississippi.
Abbott has also been an asset to the profession outside of the classroom. He has played an active role in helping craft the rules that govern the Mississippi Supreme Court. For 32 years, he served on the Mississippi Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Practice and Procedure. For four years, he served as chair of the Civil Instructions Subcommittee of the Model Jury Instructions Committee. The Rules Advisory Committee went on to name Abbott’s former spot on the committee the “Guff Abbott Chair.” He is a charter member and original secretary/treasurer of the American Inns of Court III. Abbott is a Life Fellow of the Young Lawyers of the Mississippi Bar, serving as Fellow President in 1994-1995. He is also a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. In 1998-99 he held the rare distinction of being a professor of law who was elected president of the Mississippi Bar. At his alma mater, he also found time in 2005-2006 to give back by taking on the role of chairman of the Lamar Order.
In his community he has been a faithful servant at First Presbyterian Church in Oxford, serving as Ruling Elder and as Clerk of Session. He is also active with and serves on the executive board of the Oxford-Lafayette County Pantry. Following Hurricane Katrina, Abbott did not hesitate to volunteer are FEMA sites. He has also been part of multiple mission trips to Central America to help install life-saving water filtration systems.
Guff and his wife, Patsy, reside in Oxford.
Frank O. Crosthwait, Jr.
Though he was born in Houston, Miss., the Mississippi Delta has long been home for Frank Crosthwait. He is a senior partner at the Indianola law firm of Crosthwait, Terney & Noble, PLLC. After graduating from Drew High School, Crosthwait made his way to Ole Miss where in 1958 he received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. As an undergraduate student, he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and was an Associated Student Body class representative. He went immediately to law school at the University of Mississippi and received his LL.B. degree in 1959.
Crosthwait has set a tremendous example of citizenship as evidenced by his service to his state, his local community, his profession and to his alma mater. He is a member of the Mississippi Bar, the District of Columbia Bar and the American Bar Association. His dedication to the Mississippi Bar began at an early age. In 1970 he was elected president of what was then known as the Junior Bar Section. During his term, the section’s name changed to Young Lawyers Section. He is a Life Fellow of the Young Lawyers of the Mississippi Bar, serving as Fellow President in 1986-1987. In 1989, he was elected president of the Mississippi Bar. Crosthwait is a past trustee of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and is a past recipient of the Mississippi Bar Foundation Professionalism Award. He is also a member of Mississippi Defense Lawyers and a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society. Outside the borders of Mississippi, Crosthwait has served as a past member of the ABA House of Delegates. He is a Fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the American Bar Young Lawyers division. Crosthwait has worked to improve the American justice system by serving as a past director of the American Judicature Society. He has also served as a past state chairman of the International Association of Defense Council.
Crosthwait has long been an advocate for education in the state of Mississippi. He was a charter founder of Mississippi School for Math & Science. He is also a past director of the Mississippi Public Education Forum. Crosthwait was appointed by Gov. Bill Allain to serve on the Board of the Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). He would serve as president of the IHL board and also chair in 1995 the search committee that ultimately hired Robert Khayat as chancellor of the University of Mississippi.
Crosthwait is a member of the Delta Council and the Mississippi Economic Council. He has also served as past chairman of the Mississippi Judicial Nominating Committee and is a past member of the Mississippi Constitution Study Committee. He is a past member of the Interstate Oil & Gas Commission and the Mississippi Research & Development Council.
At Ole Miss he has served on numerous committees and held various leadership roles. He is past president of the Alumni Association and of the University of Mississippi Foundation. In 1996 he was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and was presented the university’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2003 he was named LawAlumnus of the Year.
Frank and his wife, Sandra, reside in Indianola.
Clare Sekul Hornsby
Clare Hornsby is a native of Biloxi, where she has practiced law for 71 years. Since 1945, she has gone to the office every morning and has become a true legend on the Coast, where she has been included in the Biloxi tour train route. Born to Croatian parents, Hornsby credits her philosophy of life of working hard and playing hard to her parents who also taught her to love God and family above all else. She attended and graduated from Biloxi High School in 1938. She attended Perkinston Junior College and continued her college education at the University of Mississippi where she received her Juris Doctor of Law in 1945.
She began private practice with her brother, John M. Sekul, in 1945 and was one of the first females in the state to own her own law firm. In 1956, she and her brother were admitted to practice in all state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Hornsby served as a Master in the Chancery Court of the Second Judicial District of Harrison County, Mississippi; on Mississippi Women’s Cabinet on Public Affairs; as president of the Advisory Committee; and the Harrison County Family Court and Referee in Family Court.
Professionally, her memberships include the American Bar Association and the Mississippi Bar Association. Ever the trailblazer, she was the first female president of the Harrison County Bar Association. She was also president of the Biloxi Bar Association for 16 years.
Hornsby, an active member of the Biloxi Lions Club, served as their first female president and is presently the program director. She is on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation board and is a past president. Other civic organizations include: Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, Altrusa Club, American Cancer Society, United Fund, March of Dimes, and Biloxi Business and Professional Women’s Club to name a few.
Some of Mrs. Hornsby’s numerous awards include being named Biloxi’s Outstanding Citizen, 1990; Lion’s Club Mother of the Year, 1960; John C. Stennis Chapter of the Air Force Association (first woman to serve as president); Air War College National Forum, 1971; Susie Blue Buchanan Award, 1999; Biloxi First Honoree for 2011 and recipient of the Iron Magnolia Award sponsored by WLOX Television.
Hornsby also credits her success to her late husband, Warren, to whom she was married for 50 years. Clare and Warren had four children, W. Fred Hornsby II, Susie Hornsby Bass, Warren H. “Bo” Hornsby, Jr., and Yasna Hornsby Yenewine (adopted from Dalmatia,Yugoslavia). She also has nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Robert C. Khayat
Moss Point native Robert Khayat served the University of Mississippi from 1995-2009 as its 15th chancellor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1961 and a J.D. in 1966, both from the University of Mississippi. During his undergraduate years, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the Army ROTC program. He was an Academic All-American on Coach John Vaught’s football teams and was an All-SEC catcher, playing on Coach Tom Swayze’s SEC Champion baseball teams. In law school he was articles editor of the Mississippi Law Journal and finished third in his class. From 1960-1964, he played professional football for the Washington Redskins. In 1961 he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Following law school, Khayat enjoyed a successful venture as an attorney in Pascagoula. In 1969 he became a member of the Ole Miss law school faculty where he served as professor and associate dean, teaching local government law, family law, agency and partnership, federal trial practice, torts, civil procedure and wills and estates. During the 1980-81 academic year, Khayat earned a Sterling Fellowship and took a leave of absence to obtain his LL.M. from Yale Law School. In 1984, he was promoted to serve as vice chancellor for University Affairs. He then left Oxford to become the first president of the NCAA Foundation, where he served for three years. After his service to the NCAA Foundation he returned to teach at his beloved law school before being chosen as Ole Miss’ next chancellor.
Under his leadership, the university experienced unprecedented growth and success. Enrollment increased 43.6%, research and development grants topped $100 million for each of the last eight years of his tenure, Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts honor society, awarded Ole Miss a chapter and the university’s endowment grew from $114.3 million to $472.4 million. He played a major role in the establishment of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the Croft Institute for International Studies, the Lott Leadership Institute and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. The university’s operating budget grew from less than $500 million to nearly $1.5 billion. During his tenure as chancellor, the number of National Merit Scholars more than doubled, the university produced five Truman scholars, eight Goldwater scholars, six Fulbright scholars, a Marshall and a Udall scholar, and the university produced its 24th and 25th Rhodes scholars. Ole Miss also hosted the first of three Presidential Debates in 2008.
Khayat is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NFL and the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation. He is a member of the Ole Miss Football Team of the Century, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame, the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame, the Ole Miss M-Club Hall of Fame and is an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa. Law students chose him in 1993-94 as Outstanding Law Professor of the Year, and he was named Law Alumnus of the Year in 2014.
Khayat became a best-selling author after writing his autobiography The Education of a Lifetime. In 2013, his book won a Silver IPPY award presented to the nation’s best memoir. Robert and his wife, Margaret, reside in Oxford.
James B. Tucker
James Tucker graduated from Jackson, Mississippi public schools in 1957 and entered military service. Afterward he attended Millsap’s College, graduating in 1961 with a degree in English Literature. He attended Ole Miss Law School, earning a J.D. degree in 1966.
Tucker moved back to Jackson to practice law, focusing on litigation, especially plaintiff personal injury, bankruptcy receiver matters, and criminal, both defense and prosecution, serving at some point as president of the Hinds County Trial Lawyers Association. During this period he also was selected to be an Assistant City Prosecutor for the City of Jackson, beginning a 30-year prosecution career. In 1971, Tucker left his practice in Jackson, moved to Washington D.C., and became a traveling trial attorney for the Department of Justice. From there he accepted a position as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi and returned to Jackson in 1972. For the next 30 years he was a federal litigator, primarily criminal. He served as Chief of the Criminal Division for approximately 20 years, until his retirement.
During this time, Tucker performed both management and litigation responsibilities. He assigned case responsibilities, designated case priorities, monitored courtroom activities, and participated in development of district criminal division practices and procedures. He also handled a significant litigation caseload, a function that included the investigation, then trial counsel in district court, and thereafter at the appellate level in the Court of Appeals, primarily the 5th Circuit. His case credentials include trials and appellate presentations involving high profile public corruption involving every level of state, county, and municipal government. During his career with the Department of Justice, Tucker often worked with Main Justice Criminal Division lawyers in matters involving corrupt public officials. He became a presenter/instructor at national seminars and course presentations involving specialized criminal prosecutions and trial techniques. He has received numerous performance awards from his client agencies and several national awards by Main Justice Washington.
At one point during this service, the Mississippi College School of Law dean observed Tucker and co-counsel Kent McDaniel, now a state court trial judge, serve as federal trial counsel. He invited the two to become adjunct professors of trial practice, launching a second career that lasted 20-plus years. The McDaniel/Tucker WOWs (words of wisdom) became trial guides for hundreds of students across the State. In addition, during this 20-year span, he has been a regular at judging moot court competitions at law schools.
Also during this time, Tucker was recruited by the command of the Mississippi unit of the Naval Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Thereafter, in a third career as a JAG officer, he served in a number of assignments as commander, advocate, instructor and advisor, at various duty stations around the country. He is particularly proud of his service as Staff Judge Advocate to the Commander of the reserve Seabees (construction battalions) during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. In 2000, he was appointed to serve as the United States Attorney, the high mark for his DOJ career. He retired from the Department of Justice in 2001 and accepted his current position with law firm Butler Snow.
Tucker is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is an active participant in the Mississippi Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Post retirement, he keeps in touch with his fellow members of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys.
A longtime member of the Charles Clark Inn of Court, he recently served as a cast member in the award-winning presentation “Oh Shake-scene,” receiving a national American Inn of Courts Outstanding Program Award.
John H. Fox, Jr.
John Fox grew up in Clinton and graduated high school at the age of 14. Following high school, he enrolled at Mississippi College where he earned his undergraduate degree at the age of 17. From there he moved to Oxford to go to law school and earned his LL.B. in 1920 from the University of Mississippi.
Following law school, he went to New Haven, Connecticut to further his studies at Yale University. He then returned to Jackson where he practiced law. While in Jackson, Fox played a major role in starting a night school for professionals who wanted to study law. The Jackson School of Law began operating in 1930 and became Mississippi College School of Law in 1975.
In 1932 Fox made his way back to Oxford to teach at the Ole Miss law school at the age of 30. In 1937 he returned to Yale University on a Sterling Fellowship. He then returned to Oxford to pick back up with his career in legal education, only interrupted by his service in the Navy during World War II.
By all accounts, John Fox was a distinguished professor with an intense loyalty to Ole Miss in every aspect. His reputation was quickly established in Mississippi, gradually becoming known across the South and the Association of American Law Schools as someone who would stand up for the profession as both a lawyer and teacher.
A member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Fox enjoyed hunting and fishing in his spare time. He was also an avid fan of Ole Miss Athletics. Fox died in 1965, and his friends established the John H. Fox, Jr. Memorial Scholarship for upper-class law students as a tribute to him.
Fox and his wife, Marjorie Gibbons, had three sons and a daughter.
Mary Libby Payne
Born in Gulfport, Mary Libby Bickerstaff Payne has long been entrenched in Mississippi’s legal society. In 1950 she enrolled at Mississippi University for Women to study ballet. She later transferred to the University of Mississippi where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1954, studying political science and speech. The following year she was one of only four women enrolled at Ole Miss’ law school. In 1955 she received her law degree, graduating at the top of her class. During her time at Ole Miss she was a member of the Baptist Student Union and the Christian Legal Society. She was Case Notes Editor for the Mississippi Law Journal and chair of the Moot Court Board.
Upon graduation, Payne had stints of employment at her father’s law firm, at a title insurance company and at a public law firm before opening her own practice. Her public service career began in 1965 when Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Walter Sillers hired her to be a House legislative draftsman. Five years later she became the House Drafting Office’s first Chief of Drafting and Research. After the creation of the Mississippi Judiciary Commission, Payne found herself Executive Director of that organization. She also served as an assistant state attorney general before she made her great commitment to legal education.
In 1975, Mississippi College School of Law named Payne its founding dean. With her leading the way, the school transitioned from a proprietary night school to a dual division academic program and gained accreditation from the American Bar Association. Payne fully supported and embraced the college’s Christian environment and was instrumental in the establishment of the school’s Christian Legal Society. She later stepped down as dean but stayed on to foster legal education as a professor of law until 1994.
In 1994 the Mississippi Court of Appeals was created, and Payne was elected one of its original judges and was the only woman to serve in this capacity until she retired in 2001.
Recognitions for her accomplishments are many. Some of them include the MUW Alumnae Achievement Award, Life Membership in the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the 1989 Woman of the Year by the Mississippi Association for Women in Higher Education, the MUW Medallion of Excellence, the Power of One award by the Mississippi Governor’s Conference, the 1998 Mississippi College School of Law Alumni Association Lawyer of the Year, the 1999 Mississippi Women Lawyers Association Distinguished Woman Lawyer of the Year, the Christian Legal Society’s Skeeter Ellis Service to Law Students Award, the Susie Blue Buchanan Award, the national Christian Legal Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Mississippi State University’s Pre-Law Society Distinguished Jurist Award, Lifetime Achievement Award by The Mississippi Bar, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association, the Mississippi Governor’s Medal of Service, and the Mississippi Bar’s Women in the Profession Trailblazer Award.
Payne and her husband Bob reside in Pearl where they are active at McLaurin Heights Baptist Church. They have two sons, Reece Allen and Glenn Russell.
Parham H. Williams, Jr.
Parham Williams has enjoyed a lengthy career as a legal educator. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1953 and a LL.B. in 1954, both from the University of Mississippi. He later received the Sterling Fellowship that allowed him to obtain his LL.M. degree from Yale University in 1965. During his undergraduate years, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society and the Air Force ROTC program. He was also a member of the Classics fraternity Eta Sigma Phi and rose to become the organization’s national president, giving his inauguration speech in Latin. In law school he was a member of Phi Delta Phi and Phi Alpha Delta.
Following graduation, Williams served his country as a JAG officer for the U. S. Air Force. In 1956 he returned to his hometown of Lexington to practice law. In 1957 he was elected District Attorney and served two terms. In 1963 he was recruited by Prof. John Fox and Dean Robert Farley to return to Oxford as a member of the law school faculty. For the next eight years, Williams served the law school as an associate professor, assistant dean, full professor, and associate dean. In 1971 he was named 16th dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law. One of Williams’ many accomplishments as dean of the Ole Miss law school was overseeing the creation of the Lamar Order, a donor society that provides programming and scholarship support. He played a vital role in securing appropriations needed for the construction of a new law school facility, now known as Lamar Hall. Due to his efforts, the school also endowed the Jamie L. Whitten Chair in Law and Government as well as the James O. Eastland scholarships. After serving 14 years as dean, Williams made the decision to retire.
In 1985 he was hired to become vice president and dean of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, a position he held for 11 years. At Cumberland he helped raise more than $10 million toward a law library and more than $3 million toward scholarships and academic enrichment programs. He returned to Oxford in 1996 to serve as Jamie Whitten Chair of Law and Government and visiting professor of law. In 1997 he moved to California to become vice president, founding dean and Donald P. Kennedy chair in law at Chapman University School of Law, where he served for 10 years. During his tenure at Chapman, he guided the school through its ABA accreditation process and raised tens of millions of dollars toward a permanent law school building, scholarships and professorships.
In 2007 he retired and moved back to Oxford and took on the role of adjunct professor at Ole Miss’ law school. In 2012 the call came from the Duncan School of Law at Lincoln Memorial University in Knoxville, Tenn. to become interim vice president and dean. He spent the next two years leading the school through its ABA accreditation process and recently received provisional approval.
Williams and his wife, Polly, reside in Oxford. Their four children and grandchildren are an integral part of their lives.
Douglas Knox White
Knox White graduated from Gulfport High School in 1941. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1947 and a LL.B. in 1948, both from the University of Mississippi. He also pursued advanced legal studies at Columbia University in New York City.
White had a distinguished military record in World War II, having been awarded decorations for action with the 7th Armored Division in Germany at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. His role was recounted in the book, Undiscovered Heroes of World War II. He later served as an officer in the Judge Advocate General Corps, U.S. Army Reserve.
White began his law practice with White & White, a prestigious Mississippi law firm founded in the nineteenth century by his great uncle, Judge Walter H. White of Biloxi. He was recognized for his knowledge and expertise in banking and real estate law. He was of counsel to the Gulfport law firm Allen, Cobb, Hood and Atkinson, PA. White also served as legal counsel to both Hancock Bank and Peoples Bank. Widely traveled, he was an avid reader and a recognized authority on European history.
White was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Gulfport Yacht Club and a charter member of the Great Southern Club. He served as past president of numerous organizations including the Great Southern Country Club, Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association, Harrison County Bar Association, Century Club and Gridiron Club. He was a member of the Mississippi Bar, the Boston Club in New Orleans, the Young Men’s Business Club, Sunkist Country Club and active participant in various legal associations and societies.
Though White died in 2008, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been enriched by the lives of he and his widow, Patti, and their five children.
W. Scott Welch III
Scotty Welch serves as senior counsel at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC in their Jackson office. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1961 from the University of the South, also known as Sewanee. In 1964 he earned his LL.B. from the University of Mississippi School of Law. As a law student, he was a member of the Moot Court Board and Phi Delta Phi. He also served as President of the Law School Student Body.
Welch holds Fellowships in The Mississippi Bar Foundation, American College of Trial Lawyers, and Litigation Counsel of America. He is a Senior Life Fellow of the Foundation of ABOTA and a Sustaining Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Industry publications have also taken notice of his outstanding work as an attorney. Both Who’s Who in American Law and Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers have listed him since their First Editions. He has annually been listed among the top 50 attorneys in Mississippi by Mid-South Super Lawyers and has been named a Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyer since 2006. Best Lawyers in America has listed him in Personal Injury Litigation since 1995, in Commercial Litigation since 2007, in Product Liability Litigation since 2008 and in Transportation Litigation since 2011. In 2010 the Mississippi Business Journal listed him as a “Leader in Law,” and in 2011 Best Lawyers listed him as Jackson, Mississippi’s Personal Injury Litigator of the Year.
Welch has served the legal profession as President of the Mississippi Bar. He is a past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). He served as a member and as Mississippi’s State Delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates and as a member of the ABA Board of Governors. Welch is Mississippi Chair of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.
For his service to the profession, Welch has received numerous recognitions. He has been the recipient of the Mississippi Bar’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2012 the University of Mississippi School of Law named him its Law Alumnus of the Year. He has been presented the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Scotty and his wife, Mary Anne, reside in Jackson.
Haley R. Barbour
A two-term Governor of Mississippi, Haley R. Barbour received his JD from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1973. As a law student he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal.
Governor Barbour began his political career in 1968 working on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign; in 1976, he ran Gerald Ford’s fall campaign in the Southeast. He later served as political director of the Reagan White House and worked on the George H.W. Bush campaign. In 1987, he cofounded the government affairs firm that later became BGR Group.
In 2003, he made history when he became only the second Republican to be elected governor in Mississippi since reconstruction. As governor from 2004-12, Barbour realigned economic development, enacted tort reform and balanced the state’s budget. His team generated numerous large economic projects in the energy, aerospace and automotive fields, including the selection by Toyota of Blue Springs, for their newest U.S. auto assembly plant, which was the most sought after economic development project in the United States that year. In Barbour’s eight years as governor, per capita income in the state increased by 34 percent.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, Governor Barbour received national recognition from the bipartisan American Legislative Exchange Council for his swift response to the worst natural disaster in American history. For his efforts to rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast, he received the Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award. Other awards during his tenure as governor include being named Governor of the Year by Governing magazine, receiving the Gulf Guardian Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of his work to rebuild Gulf Coast ecosystems and receiving the Adam Smith Award from BIPAC to honor his pursuit of the principles of free enterprise.
Brad J. Dye
Mr. Bradford J. Dye is an attorney with Pyle, Mills, Dye and Pittman in Ridgeland, and serves as vice-president of Duncan Williams, Inc., investment bankers in Memphis. Born in Charleston, Dye was an Eagle Scout and graduated salutatorian from Charleston High School. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1957 and a LLB in 1959, both from the University of Mississippi. During his undergraduate years, he was an active member of student government serving as treasurer and then president of the Associated Student Body. Dye was an Ole Miss cheerleader and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He was also selected a member of the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame. As a law student, he was a member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity.
Following graduation, Dye practiced law with his father in Grenada. From there Dye began an extensive legal and political career. In 1959, he was elected from Grenada and Montgomery counties to the Mississippi House of Representatives where he was member of various committees including Ways and Means, Public Health and Quarantine, Public Utilities, and Drainage Committees.
Dye’s early success took him to the nation’s capital when Senator James O. Eastland selected him to be an attorney on the staff of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1961-64. Dye became a Mississippi state senator in 1963 and served on numerous committees. He was Chairman of the Game and Fish Committee and Secretary of the Military Affairs Committee. In 1968, Governor John Bell Williams made Dye the director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Industrial board. He oversaw construction of the Ingalls Shipyard and was instrumental in the rebuilding of the State Port in Gulfport after Hurricane Camille.
Dye served as Mississippi State Treasurer from 1971-76. He then became president of Jackson Savings and Loan Association. In 1980 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi and is the only person in state history to have held this position for 12 consecutive years. During his tenure, Dye helped finalize many beneficial education and economic pieces of legislation. He was also instrumental in the Mississippi four-lane highway program, which is the foundation of the state’s current transportation systems.
In 2006, Dye was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame. He was the first president of the University of Mississippi Business Alumni Chapter. Dye was the first recipient of the Political Science Department’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The department also established a public service scholarship in his name. He is a current member of the Political Science Advisory Board.
He is a long-time Red Cross life saving and water safety instructor for young people in Grenada and Tallahatchie Counties. He has also coached various youth sports programs organized by the YMCA and assisted with the Boy Scouts of America. Dye and his wife, Donna, reside in Ridgeland. Their sons and grandchildren are an integral part of their lives.
Lee Davis Thames
Lee Davis Thames grew up in Vicksburg. In 1958, he graduated with honors from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in Greek and English. Two years later, he earned his J.D., graduating first in his class. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, was editor of the Ole Miss yearbook, was elected to the Associated Student Body as a class representative and was in the Army ROTC. As a law student, he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal, the Moot Court Board and of Phi Delta Phi. In 1984 Thames earned a theology certificate from The University of the South. Following his 1958 graduation from Ole Miss, he began a lengthy military career. He graduated from the Army Infantry Career Course, the Army Engineer Career Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College and the Air Assault School of the 101st Airborne Division. He eventually achieved the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Upon completion of his active military duty, Thames began his legal career by joining his father in private practice in Vicksburg. A few years later he started the firm of Ramsey, Bodron, Thames and Robinson, which grew to eight attorneys. In 1980 he joined Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada, when it consisted of just 22 attorneys. In Vicksburg, Thames was instrumental in organizing the Warren County Junior Bar Association and served as its first president. He went on to serve as president of the Warren County Bar Association. His service to the Mississippi Bar includes being a member of its Complaint Tribunal and the Board of Commissioners. Thames has helped bring more than 200 trials to verdict, defending clients in Mississippi courts, U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. Court of Military Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Thames earned great national and international attention for his defense of chemical and pharmaceutical companies in personal injury and mass tort litigation cases. Some cases took him as far as Europe and the Middle East. He has had a long pro bono career representing indigent defendants. Most notably the decision handed down in Gideon v. Wainwright holding that the Constitution requires counsel to be provided to defendants in criminal cases.
A fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Mississippi Bar Foundation, Thames was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America since its first addition. Awards from this magazine include: 2012 Lawyer of the Year Product Liability Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, Bet-the-Company Litigation, and Commercial Litigation. Legal Media Group recognized him as Top Product Liability Attorney in the World, and The Mid-South Super Lawyers recognized him in Top Fifty Lawyers in Mississippi. He was listed as one of the International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers. In 2013, the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association awarded Thames the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Thames is extremely active within his church. He served on the Mississippi Episcopal Diocesan Executive Committee, Standing Committee and as Chair of the Mission Strategy Committee. He has also served on the national level as a Deputy to the National Convention and as a member of the Standing Committee on Churches in Small Communities and Standing Committee on Peace. Professionally, he has served as legal counsel to the House of Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal.
William M. Waller
William L. “Bill” Waller was born in Oxford and grew up on a farm in the northeast Mississippi hill country. After graduating from University High School, he earned a B.S. in general business from Memphis State University in 1948. Two years later, he earned his LLB from the University of Mississippi.
Upon graduation, Waller entered the U.S. Army and served in its Intelligence Corps during the Korean War. He then relocated in Jackson, where he would practice law for 61 years. He became a senior partner at Waller, Pritchard and Fox and later at Waller and Waller Attorneys. His public service career began in 1960 when he became District Attorney for the Seventh Judicial District. Waller received prominence for his vigorous prosecution against segregationist Byron De La Beckwith in the 1964 Evers case, the first Civil Rights murder case in the state of Mississippi. He wrote about his experience in his 2007 book, Straight Ahead: Memoirs of a Mississippi Governor.
The Mississippi Democrat became governor in 1972 and was the first leader to appoint African-Americans to boards and commissions in post-reconstruction Mississippi. The Civil Rights advocate abolished the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a group that had been opposed to integration, and helped advance three historically black colleges to university status. Waller also recruited the first African-Americans for the Mississippi State fair commission and the highway patrol. Under his leadership, $600 million of construction was completed to improve Mississippi’s highways. The state also acquired 32,000 acres of Pascagoula River hardwood swamp for the sake of wildlife preservation.
Waller was a member of First Baptist Church of Jackson for more than 60 years, where he was a member of the Fishers of Men Sunday School class and a founder of the Friends of Alcoholics program.
Thomas Frederick Wicker
In 1943, Wicker was inducted into the armed forces and served in the Army and Army Air Corps in tours of duty in the U.S., England, Belgium, France and Germany. At this time he was also a championship boxer. Upon his return home from active duty, he returned home to finish his studies at Holmes and then relocated to Oxford to begin law school. As a law school student he served as president of his class. He earned his LLB from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1948.
After receiving his law degree, Wicker married Wordna Threadgill, and they established a home in Pontotoc. There Wicker embarked upon a legal career that spanned 42 years. He established a general law practice and was elected in 1951 as Pontotoc County Prosecuting Attorney, where served three consecutive terms. From 1957-65 he served as Attorney for the City of Pontotoc. In 1967 he was elected State Senator to represent Pontotoc, Union and Benton Counties. In 1970 Judge N. S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr. resigned his position as Circuit Judge in the First Circuit Court District to become a professor at Ole Miss law school. Wicker resigned his seat as State Senator to replace Judge Sweat. He was elected to this position five times, and retired in 1990 after serving twenty years on the bench. Throughout his judicial career, he never had an opponent when elections rolled around.
In his community, Wicker was instrumental in Pontotoc’s growth. While representing the city, Wicker helped establish the Pontotoc County Development Association for economic development. He also played a key role in the establishment of the Pontotoc Country Club. He is a member of Pontotoc Rotary Club. During his 65 years of membership, he has served as the club’s president and has become a Paul Harris Fellow. He is a member of American Legion Post 16, where he has also served in various leadership capacities. Wicker has been a member of First Baptist Church of Pontotoc since 1948 and has served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher.
As a Circuit Judge, he served as chair of the Circuit Judges Conference. He also represented the Conference of Mississippi Judges and its Circuit Judges Section at numerous American Bar Association conventions. Prior to retirement he was a Senior Circuit Judge in the First District.
In 1998 Wicker returned to Holmes when he became a recipient of the Holmes Community College Distinguished Service Award. In 2005, the Mississippi State Senate and House of Representatives adopted Senate Resolution 586 commending Wicker on his career as a public servant and veteran.
A native of Meridian, the late Herb Dewees received a B.A. degree in 1965 and a J.D. degree in 1968 from the University of Mississippi. As a law student he was a member of the Delta Theta Phi honor society. His career with the University of Mississippi began in 1976 when he joined the Alumni Affairs staff at the Medical Center in Jackson . A little more than a year later, he moved to the Oxford campus to work with various alumni chapters; chief among them, the Law Alumni Chapter. It was his idea to create an “order” for each alumni chapter that promotes and recognizes an increased level of financial commitment. Dewees is responsible for creating and naming the Lamar Order, which remains an incredibly valuable resource for the law school.
He was appointed executive director of the Alumni Association in 1990 and served in that capacity for 14 years until his retirement. Under his direction, the alumni center underwent a major renovation, the association celebrated its 150th anniversary and nationally broadcast its first alumni meeting live via satellite from the Oxford campus.
Dewees received the Law Alumnus of the Year Award in 1990 and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 2004 for exhibiting the character, humanitarian and spiritual qualities evident in the life of Sullivan, a Southerner who became a prominent 19th century lawyer, businessman and philanthropist. In recognition of his commitment to providing scholarships to Ole Miss students, the Alumni Association’s board of directors voted in 2007 to name its scholarship fund the Herbert E. Dewees, Jr. Alumni Association Lineal Descendant Scholarship Endowment. A year later he was inducted posthumously into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame.
Born in Grenada and raised in Pascagoula, Trent Lott received his B.P.A. in Political Science in 1963 and J.D. in 1967, both from the University of Mississippi. As an undergraduate, Lott was president of Sigma Nu fraternity, an Ole Miss cheerleader, a member of the Daily Mississippian staff, a concert singer and a member of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. In law school, Sen. Lott was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. In 1963 he was selected as a member of the university’s Student Hall of Fame. The Alumni Association honored him in 2010 by inducting him as a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.
He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972 where he served for 16 years. From 1981 to 1989, Lott became the second-ranking Republican in the House when he was chosen to serve as House Minority Whip. In 1988 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and remained in office until his retirement in 2007. In 1995, Sen. Lott became the Senate Majority Whip and then the Senate’s 16th Majority Leader in 1996. In 2006 he was elected Senate Minority Whip and is the only person to serve in this position in both the House and the Senate. Following his 35-year service to the people of Mississippi, he and former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux founded the Breaux Lott Leadership Group and now serve as special senior counsel following the firm’s acquisition by Patton Boggs LLP.
Pat H. Scanlon grew up in Jackson, Miss. where he graduated from Central High School. Following high school he attended Louisiana State University, where he played varsity tennis and served as president of the College of Arts & Sciences and also in the student senate. After receiving his B.S. degree in 1957, Scanlon moved to Oxford to study law. As a law school student, he was a member of the editorial board of the Mississippi Law Journal, the Moot Court Board, Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. In 1960 he received his law degree “With Distinction.”
Scanlon served his country by performing active duty with the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps, reaching the rank of Captain. Most of his legal career (33 years) was spent practicing with the firm of Young, Scanlon & Sessums. He also practiced seven years with the firm of Scanlon, Sessums, Parker & Dallas. Scanlon practiced with Watkins & Eager for two years before retiring in 2004. Throughout his career he spoke at law seminars on the topics of construction law, Chapter 11 bankruptcy law and civil procedure. He has been published in the Mississippi College Law Review and worked with his son, John, to author a chapter in Mississippi Civil Procedure.
Scanlon has provided tireless service to the legal profession. He has served as president of MS Young Lawyers Association, chairman of the 24th Annual MS Law Institute, president of the Fellows of the MS Young Lawyers Division, president of the Jackson Junior Bar Association, president of the Hinds County Bar Association, president of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and president of the MS Bankruptcy Conference. He has also served as president of the MS Bar and was a member of the ABA House of Delegates for five years. Scanlon also served his university as president of the Law Alumni Chapter, chairman of the Lamar Order and as a member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s executive committee.
His service and professional accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. Scanlon was listed in Best Lawyers in America from its original publication in 1983 until his 2004 retirement. He has been named a Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers and Fellow of the International Society of Barristers. He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and was the law school’s 1986 Law Alumnus of the Year.
Constance Iona Slaughter-Harvey, a native of Forest, Miss., graduated from Hawkins High School and Tougaloo College. She is truly a trailblazer in this state. At Tougaloo, she was elected as the school’s first female President of the Student Government Association. In 1970 she became the first African American female to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi. In 1976 she became the state’s first African American female to be appointed to serve as judge.
Slaughter-Harvey began her career with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law working there until 1972. She returned to Forest and established her private law practice and has served as Executive Director of Southern Legal Rights, later becoming Director of East Mississippi Legal Services. In 1980, she joined Gov. William Winter’s staff as Director of Human Development. In 1984, she became Assistant Secretary of State for Elections and Public Lands with Secretary of State, Dick Molpus. Together they reformed Sixteenth Section School and Public Trust Lands, lobbied for Mail-In Voter Registration (signed into law on April 1, 1991) and fought for Moter Voter Registration. In 1991, she was promoted to General Counsel and continued service as Assistant Secretary of Elections. In 1996, she returned to her law practice and became President of Elections, Inc., a position she currently holds. She is also President of the Slaughter Memorial Foundation where she supervises programs in after-school tutorial and enhancement, abstinence, and several other youth initiatives.
Slaughter-Harvey was the only female of the eight founders of the National Black Law Student Association when it formed in 1969 at Rutgers University. In 1998, the University of Mississippi’s Black Law Student Association was named in her honor. She is a past President of the Magnolia Bar Association and recipient of the prestigious R. Jesse Brown Award. She is a past recipient of Mississippi State University’s Distinguished Service Award and the University of Mississippi’s Distinguished Black Mississippian Award. She is a two-time recipient of the National Council of Negro Women’s Outstanding Service Award. She has also twice earned the NAACP Legal Awards for dedication and commitment to the continuing struggle for legal justice. Tougaloo College inducted her into its alumni Hall of Fame in 2000 and named her its Alumnae of the Year two years later. In 1999, Thomas and Ann Colbert honored her with the establishment of the Constance Slaughter-Harvey Endowed Chair in Political Science/Pre-Law at Tougaloo College. In 2000 she was inducted as a MS Bar Foundation Fellow, and the Bar awarded her the Susie Blue Buchanan Award in 2004. Among these and many other awards she has been presented, the most recent include selection as a 2011 Champion of Justice by the MS Center for Justice and being named a Woman Trailblazer in 2012 by the MS Bar.
Slaughter-Harvey is the mother of Constance Olivia Slaughter-Harvey Burwell. She and her husband, James, reside in Jackson, MS with their two year old son, James Arthur Emmanuel Burwell, III, a/k/a Tre’.
William M. Watkins
Raised on a farm in Jefferson County, Miss., the late William Hamilton Watkins received his L.L.B. degree in 1895 from the University of Mississippi. At 17 he accepted a job with the Cohn Brothers Mercantile Company at Lorman, Miss., near his home. When he had earned sufficient funds, he entered Southern University at Greensboro, Ala., in 1890.
In 1893, he entered Millsaps College, and in 1894 he enrolled in the law school at the University of Mississippi. While a student, he earned the highest grade ever made in the law school and one that has never been equaled – that of 99.5%. He was First Honor Man and Class Orator of the class of 1895.
Upon graduation, Watkins became the 20th lawyer in the Jackson bar. Specializing in civil and corporate law, he went on to become a founder of one of the most successful Jackson law firms, Watkins & Eager.
One mark of his ability was that early on he attained a well-deserved reputation, throughout Mississippi and in surrounding states, for excellence and expertise in appearances before, and submissions to, the Supreme Court of the United States.
On multiple occasions, various governors asked him to act as a special justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi. He was an invited member of the American Law Institute and authored the annual Martindale-Hubbell summary of Mississippi law.
He was elected to a term as President of the Mississippi Bar and to terms in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association.
Watkins served as President of the Board of Trustees of the State Department of Archives and History from 1936-55.
A charter member of the Jackson Rotary Club, Watkins served a term as president. He was a founding member of the Jackson Little Theatre and served as director of Jackson-State National Bank and of The Gammill Company. From 1938-52, Watkins’ leadership extended to service on the Board of Trustees of Tougaloo College.
Watkins taught the men’s bible class at Galloway Memorial Methodist Church from 1911-46. On the Sunday after his death the group changed its name to the “William Hamilton Watkins Memorial Bible Class.”
William M. Champion
The late Bill Champion was born in Edwards, Miss. Champion attended Hinds Community College for two years before transferring to Mississippi State University, where he received a B.S. degree in 1953.
After graduating, Champion served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy until 1957. He returned to Oxford and received his LL.B. degree from Ole Miss in 1961. As a law student, he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal, the Moot Court Board and Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity. In 1962, he was a Teaching Fellow and earned his LL.M. degree from George Washington University.
Champion began his legal career when he joined the Jackson law firm Watkins & Eager where he was an associate for two years. He made his way back to Oxford to join the faculty at the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1965, where he served until his retirement in 1998. During his tenure at Ole Miss, Champion taught thousands of students and was named Outstanding Law Faculty Member by the student body in 1981, 1987, 1990, 1993 and 1996. In 1982, he was selected Outstanding Teacher of the Year. His time at the law school was not limited to classroom instruction. Champion also served as chairman of the Admissions Committee for a number of years, as associate dean and as acting dean.
Champion wrote numerous legal publications and was active in The Mississippi Bar. He served on and chaired many committees, namely the Mississippi State Bar Ethics Committee, the Bar Complaints Committee, chaired the Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law, was a member of Estates and Trusts Section and served as reporter for the Subcommittee on Rules of Civil Procedure of the Mississippi Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules.
Champion posthumously received the Mississippi Bar Foundation’s 2011 Professionalism Award, an award presented to a lawyer whose life, practice and service display outstanding character and integrity.
Thomas R. Ethridge
The late Tommy Ethridge was born on May 2, 1918 in West Point, Miss. He received his B.A. in 1940 and M.A. in 1946, both Liberal Arts degrees, from the University of Mississippi. In 1951 he obtained his LL.B. from the Ole Miss law school. He is the son and grandson of former Mississippi lawyers and the brother of William Ethridge, former Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Ethridge served in the United States Marine Corps in WWII, seeing serious combat in the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. After the war, Ethridge returned to Oxford, to make it his home after graduating from law school and enjoy a long and prolific legal career. He was a senator in the Mississippi legislature from 1948-1954. He served as the attorney for the city of Oxford, and was the first full-time U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Mississippi from 1954-1961. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oxford is named for Ethridge.
He is a former commissioner of the Mississippi Bar Association, a former chairman of the Criminal Law Section of the Mississippi Bar, and he served as faculty advisor to the Mississippi Law Journal. He was a member of the board of the Mississippi Judicial College and the Mississippi Institute of Continuing Legal Education, as well as president of the Lafayette County and Third Circuit District Bar Associations. He was a partner in the Ethridge and Grisham Law Firm for many years, and was of Council with Hickman, Goza and Spraggins.
In addition, Ethridge served as the university attorney for the University of Mississippi from 1971 to 1982, where he was responsible for securing the intellectual property protection for the university’s symbols and name. He was a law professor for 24 years at the University of Mississippi, and was the recipient of the 2007 Lafayette County Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Also a longtime supporter of the University Jazz Band, Ethridge served as president of the Ole Miss Jazz Alumni Club. In 1985 he was placed in the Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2006 he was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame.
Ethridge was also committed to his community. He was a member, former Elder, Deacon, and chairman of the board of deacons at the First Presbyterian Church of Oxford. He also served as a board member for the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce, as a trustee of the Mary-Buie Museum and as a board member of the Oxford-Lafayette County Hospital.
Lawrence J. Franck, Jr.
Larry Franck is a native of Vicksburg and received his B.B.A. in 1953 and his LL.B. in 1958, both from the University of Mississippi. While at Ole Miss, he served as editor of The Mississippian, was a member of Scabbard and Blade, an honorary military society, and was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa honorary leadership fraternity. Franck was elected to the university’s student Hall of Fame his senior year.
After receiving his undergraduate degree, Franck became a U.S. Army officer in the 11th Airborne Division from 1953 to 1956. Afterwards, he attended law school, where he was Associate Editor of the Mississippi Law Journal and a member of the Moot Court Board. He was also named Outstanding Law Graduate for the class of 1958.
The majority of Franck’s legal career was with the Jackson law firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens, & Cannada, PLLC, where he served as chairman from 1996 to 1998, and was a member of the Mississippi Bar from 1958 to 2000, when he retired.
Franck’s professional involvement includes being named a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, serving as president of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association, and as president of the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit. He served as chairman of the Mississippi Supreme Court Advisory Committee and was on the board of directors of the American Judiciary Society. In addition, he was president of the Charles Clark American Inns of Court and was chairman of the Mississippi Supreme Court Commission of Bar Admissions and Review. One of his more significant accomplishments is his part in the creation and adoption of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Frank’s distinguished career has earned him numerous awards, including the Mississippi Bar Award of Merit, the American Board of Trial Advocates Civil Justice Award, the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Fifth Circuit, the Mississippi Bar Foundation’s Professionalism Award, and the Mississippi Bar Lifetime Achievement Award.
Frank D. Montague, Jr.
Frank Montague grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, graduating as an honor student from Hattiesburg High School. He went on to obtain his LL.B. in 1950 and then a B.S. degree in civil engineering in 1951, both from The University of Mississippi.
While at Ole Miss, Montague served as president of both the student body and Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. His academic career included memberships in Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity, Chi Epsilon Honorary Engineering Scholastic Fraternity, and ODK honor society. He was a recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers Award of Merit as Outstanding Senior Engineering Student and was placed in The University of Mississippi Student Hall of Fame.
Montague is a partner at Montague, Pittman, & Varnado in Hattiesburg, where he was president until 2001. His primary area of practice is in civil litigation and general civil practice. Montague has authored numerous legal publications and taught Journalism Law at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has also spoken at various professional seminars and judicial conferences as a lecturer at the University of Mississippi School of Law and Mississippi College School of Law.
His professional service includes membership in the American Bar Association, the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline, chairman of the Complaints Committee of the Mississippi Bar, chairman of the Mississippi Institute for Continuing Legal Education, founding president of the South Central Mississippi Bar Association and chairman of the Lamar Order. He served as president of the Mississippi Bar in 1975-76 and as president of the Mississippi Bar Foundation in 1977-78. In 1986-87 he was president of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association. Montague also chaired the Mississippi Tort Claims Board during its first two years of existence. In addition to his responsibilities to his firm, Montague was also the city judge of Hattiesburg from 1956-60 and the city attorney from 1965-74.
Montague has garnered numerous honors. In 1977 he was selected as the Ole Miss Law Alumnus of the Year. He was also the first recipient of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented the Mississippi Bar Foundation’s Professionalism Award and is a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation. For 25 consecutive years, he was included in “The Best Lawyers in America.”
Montague is also a dedicated member of his community. His involvement includes serving as president of the Hattiesburg Kiwanis Club, executive board member of the Area Development Partnership, trustee of Belhaven College and trustee of the Presbytery of South Mississippi. In addition he has been extremely involved at all levels with Boy Scouts of America, March of Dimes and American Red Cross.
A U.S. Navy veteran of WWII, Montague was married to Mary Dixon Montague. Their children are F. Douglas Montague III, H. Dixon Montague and Brian A. Montague, all of whom are practicing attorneys.
Honorable Lenore L. Prather
Former Chief Justice Lenore Prather is a West Point, Mississippi native. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Mississippi University for Women and afterwards attended the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she received her LL.B. degree in 1955. From 1963 to 1971, she worked at Mississippi State University in the Communications Department as a part-time instructor.
After a time in private practice, Prather was appointed as the Municipal Judge in West Point. In 1971, Governor John Bell appointed her as the Chancery Judge for the 14th Chancery District in Mississippi, which consists of Lowndes, Clay, Oktibbeha, Noxubee, Webster, and Chickasaw counties. This appointment made her the first woman to hold the Chancellorship in the state, a position she held for 10 years. Prather also attended the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada following her appointment as Chancellor.
In 1982, Governor William Winter appointed Prather to the Mississippi Supreme Court, making her the first female Justice for the state of Mississippi. In 1993, Prather served as Presiding Justice and in 1998 as Chief Justice for the Supreme Court. After her role in the Mississippi Supreme Court, Justice Prather served as interim president at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. In 2003 MUW presented her with an honorary Doctorate degree.
Notably, Justice Prather is a 1986 inductee of the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame and was selected in 1995 as the Ole Miss Law Alumna of the Year. She was included in Who’s Who in America from 1984 through 2002. Prather is a two-time recipient of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women Award for Outstanding Mississippi Women and the Distinguished Jurist Award by Mississippi State University. She is a former member of the Mississippi Humanities Council, and was active in Southern Women in Public Service, an initiative of the John C. Stennis Institute.
Justice Prather is a Rotarian and is a Paul Harris Fellow within the organization. In 2009, in recognition of her outstanding lifetime contributions to the state of Mississippi, Governor Haley Barbour presented her with the Mississippi Medal of Service.
Honorable Reuben V. Anderson
Reuben Vincent Anderson is a senior partner at the law firm of Phelps Dunbar LLP. Born Jackson, Mississippi, he attended Jackson Public Schools and graduated from Jim Hill High School in 1960. He received his B.A. degree with a major in History in 1964 from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi, and his J.D. degree in 1967, becoming the first African-American to graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Anderson was admitted to the Mississippi State Bar in 1967. His professional experience includes Mississippi Associate Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., 1967-75; a partner with Anderson, Banks, Nichols & Stewart, 1968-77; Municipal Judge for the City of Jackson, 1975-77; County Court Judge for Hinds County, Mississippi, 1977-82; Circuit Court Judge for the 7th Circuit Court District of Mississippi, 1982-85; Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, 1985-90; and Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government at the University of Mississippi, Fall of 1995.
Anderson has received a wealth of recognitions throughout his legal career. Among others, he is the first African-American to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court, the first African-American President of the Mississippi Bar, and listed in The Best Lawyers in America. He was inducted into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame in 2009, was presented the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, the University of Mississippi Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995, and is the namesake for the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Society at Tougaloo College. He also served as president of the state Chamber of Commerce (MEC), 2001.
Anderson is a current Director of AT&T, Dallas, Texas; The Kroger Company, Cincinnati, Ohio; and MINACT, Inc., Jackson, Mississippi, among others. He is a former director of a number of boards, including Trustmark National Bank, Jackson, Mississippi; Mississippi Chemical, Yazoo City, Mississippi; Burlington Resources, Houston, Texas; and BellSouth, Atlanta, Georgia.
Anderson is a member of the 100 Black Men of Jackson, the American Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, Hinds County Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, National Bar Association, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Bar Association, and U.S. Supreme Court Bar Association.
Anderson is married to the former Phyllis Wright and has three children, Vincent, Raina (Reginald Lee) and Rosalyn. He is the proud grandfather of two grandchildren, James and Anderson.
Thomas D. Bourdeaux
Thomas D. Bourdeaux was born on July 10, 1925 in Meridian. He attended Meridian public schools, graduating from Meridian High School in 1943. He later served in the United States Navy as an aviation cadet.
Upon leaving the Navy in 1945, Mr. Bourdeaux entered the University of Mississippi, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was Editor of The Daily Mississippian from 1946 – ’47. Mr. Bourdeaux obtained his LLB from Ole Miss Law School in 1949. He taught classes in history while in law school.
Upon graduating law school, Mr. Bourdeaux began his law practice in Meridian as a sole practitioner. He later formed a partnership with Gipson Witherspoon and in 1956 was a founding member of what became Bourdeaux & Jones, LLP. Mr. Bourdeaux was the senior partner of the firm and was still actively engaged in his law practice until the time of his death on October 30, 1995.
Mr. Bordeaux enjoyed a very distinguished career. He was admitted to all state and federal courts in Mississippi, as well as the court of appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States. He was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” (1991-1994) in three practice areas: business litigation, corporate law and personal injury litigation. Mr. Bordeaux tried cases throughout the Southeast.
He served as president of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association and as chairman of the American Bar Foundation of the State of Mississippi. He had the privilege of serving on the Board of Trustees for the Institutions of Higher Learning for the State of Mississippi from 1980 –’89, serving as president of the board in 1988-’89. He was a member of the Southern Regional Education Board.
Locally, Mr. Bourdeaux was a member of the board of directors of Great Southern National Bank, in addition to serving as its general counsel. He was a creator of the Meridian Community College Foundation, and he taught a business law class at what is now Meridian Community College. He was active in the Meridian Chamber of Commerce and Meridian Industrial Foundation. He was a member of The Church of the Mediator and served as a senior warden.
Mr. Bourdeaux was married to Norma Sanders Bourdeaux and had four children: Lisa B. Percy, Marian B. Barksdale, Ellen Bourdeaux and Thomas Bourdeaux, Jr.
Jack F. Dunbar
Jack Dunbar grew up around Indianola, then made his way to Millsaps College where he graduated with honors. He was then accepted to and enrolled at Georgetown Law School, but later transferred to the University of Mississippi School of Law where he received his J.D. degree.
As a law student in Oxford, he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal and served as president of the student body. He graduated at the top of his class.
His legal career blossomed in the Delta, but he eventually transitioned back to north Mississippi. Over the course of his career, he earned a reputation as one of the most respected trial lawyers in the state. He has been included in every issue of The Best Lawyers in America since the publication’s inception.
Dunbar has served as president of both the Mississippi Bar and the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents. He has also served as Mississippi’s delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. During this time, he was a member of the ABA Board of Governors. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Bar Foundation and the Mississippi Bar Foundation.
Within his community, he has volunteered his services to make it a better place for all. He put countless hours into a contract negotiation between Baptist Hospital and his community hospital, which led to a deal that immediately improved local health care. Because of the major role he played, he was awarded the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award in 1990.
His professional achievements have also garnered numerous awards. Most recently, he was presented the Mississippi Bar Foundation’s 2010 Professionalism Award.
Honorable Evelyn Gandy
The late Evelyn Gandy was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the daughter of Kearney C. and Abbie (Whigham) Gandy.
She graduated with honors from Hattiesburg High School where she was active in debating and oratory. She attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she continued to be active in debating. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law. As a law student, she won the state oratorical contest in 1944, was the first woman editor of the Mississippi Law Journal, and was the first woman to be elected President of the Law School student body.
Having an interest in politics from childhood, she began making political speeches for candidates when in high school.
In 1947, she began the practice of law in Hattiesburg, and after her career in public service, she returned to private law practice in Hattiesburg in January 1984 with the firm of Ingram and Associates.
In 1948, Ms. Gandy was elected to serve as representative in the State Legislature from Forrest County. Later she served in the following state-wide elective positions: State Treasurer (1960-1964, 1968-1972), Commissioner of Insurance (1972-1976) and Lieutenant Governor (1976-1980). She was the first woman to hold each of these offices.
Ms. Gandy served on a number of policy-making state boards and commissions. She served as a member of the National Advisory Council of the Salvation Army and the Board of Visitors of the United States Naval Academy.
She was active in numerous professional and civic organizations and is a past state president of the Mississippi Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, the South Central Mississippi Women Lawyers Association, and the Mississippi Official Women’s Club.
Ms. Gandy was a member of the University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg where she served as a Deacon.
Crymes G. Pittman
Crymes G. Pittman attended Georgia Tech and received his undergraduate degree in 1964 from the University of Mississippi. He practiced law in Raleigh from 1966 to 1974 with L. D. Pittman. He moved and began practicing law in Jackson and, in 1978, along with James P. Cothren, formed the firm of Cothren & Pittman. Today, Crymes continues his practice of law as a partner of Pittman, Germany, Roberts & Welsh, LLP, which was formed in 1993.
Pittman is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association and the Hinds County Bar Association where he has served on numerous committees. He served two terms as a bar commissioner from the 7th and 13th circuits. He is a lifetime member of the Mississippi Association for Justice (MAJ) where he was president and a winner of the Stalwarts Award. He served on the board of the American Association for Justice and American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). He served as president of the Mississippi Chapter of ABOTA and is a Fellow of the ABOTA Foundation. He is a member of American Inns of Court, Charles Clark Chapter, and is a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. He has served on the U.S. District Court Magistrate Selection Committee as well as the Mississippi Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee. He has tried numerous civil cases in state and federal courts.
He has spoken at multiple seminars for the Mississippi Judicial College and MAJ and has taught classes on trial advocacy sponsored by the Mississippi ABOTA chapter at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College Schools of Law. He has served on various committees for the Mississippi Bar and MAJ dealing with improvements of the administration of law, judicial liaison work and dealing with the legislative branches.
He has served on the Board of the University of Mississippi Alumni Association. He is a sustaining member of the Lamar Order and has served as its Chairman. In 1999 he was awarded the law school’s Alumnus of the Year Award. He served as co-chair of the School of Law Campaign for the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, which was dedicated on April 15, 2011.
Honorable Charles Clark
Charles Clark (LLB 48) was born in Memphis, Tenn., and raised in Cleveland, Miss. After graduating from the public school system in Cleveland, Clark attended Millsaps College and then transferred to Tulane University, where he received his bachelor’s degree.
In 1945, Clark was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, Clark returned to Mississippi and attended The University of Mississippi School of Law. He began practicing law soon after graduation at the firm of Wells, Wells, Newman & Thomas in Jackson. In 1951, the Korean War began to heat up, and Clark re-enlisted with the Naval Reserve as a lieutenant.
In 1961, Clark teamed with Vardaman S. Dunn and William Harold Cox Jr. to form the law firm of Cox, Dunn & Clark in Jackson. That year he also took on the part-time work of special assistant to the attorney general of the state of Mississippi, a responsibility he fulfilled until 1966. In 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Clark to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He held this post until 1992, writing more than 2,800 opinions during this 22-year period. He served as chief judge of the Fifth Circuit from 1981-92. Upon resigning his position on the bench of the Fifth Circuit in January 1992, Clark joined his former law partners Dunn and Cox at the Watkins & Eager law firm in Jackson as an appellate advocate and mediator.
Clark died in 2011, leaving behind Emily, his wife of more than 60 years, their six children and 13 grandchildren.
Robert J. Farley
Robert J. Farley, who was first employed by The University of Mississippi School of Law in 1926 as an assistant professor, built a career that is still honored on campus today.
In fact, the former law school building, now housing the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, was named Farley Hall in honor of his service and the service of his ancestor Leonard J. Farley, who was UM law dean from 1913-1921.
Farley served as law dean from 1946 to 1963.
In a history of the UM School of Law, former UM law dean Parham Williams said, “With the advent of World War II, most of the faculty and students entered military service … When Bob Farley was appointed dean in February 1946, he faced many of the problems which confronted (L.Q.C.) Lamar in 1866; the academic program had been disrupted, the faculty was scattered, and there were few students.”
Despite the challenges, Farley was able to encourage rapid enrollment growth at the law school and recruited a highly-respected faculty. Under Farley, the admissions standards were strengthened so as to require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, the minimum requirement for the Bachelor of Laws degree was increased from 78 to 82 hours, faculty salaries were improved, and, in 1959, an annex to the Law Building was completed and occupied. In 1954, Farley was honored with election to the presidency of the Mississippi Bar.
“Upon his retirement in 1963, Farley could reflect with justifiable satisfaction upon the growth and progress of the School of Law under his leadership,” Williams wrote. “In statistical terms, the enrollment had quintupled, the faculty had grown two-fold, the library holdings had doubled and the building had been substantially enlarged. More important, the reputation of the school as an institution of academic strength and integrity had been firmly established.”
William F. Goodman, Jr.
William F. Goodman Jr. (LLB 51) graduated from Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tenn. In 1949, he received his undergraduate degree, with honors, from Millsaps College and moved to Oxford to attend law school. After graduation, Goodman served in the United States Army, reaching the rank of first lieutenant.
After serving his country, Goodman joined the law firm of Watkins & Eager in 1953, where he continues to practice today. Goodman has been honored with invitation-only memberships in the Mississippi Bar Foundation, the American Bar Foundation, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers. For 25 consecutive years, he has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America. He has served as president of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association and of the Hinds County Bar Association.
Goodman served as director of the executive committee of Trustmark Corporation and Trustmark National Bank. Millsaps College named Goodman its Alumnus of the Year in 1997. In 2001, he received the Professionalism Award presented by the Hinds County Bar. In 2004, he was honored with the Professionalism Award of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. The Law Alumni Chapter named Goodman, in 2008, The University of Mississippi School of Law’s Alumnus of the Year.
Bill and his wife, the former Edwina McDuffie of Aberdeen, have three children— Will Goodman III, Patricia Goodman Ammons and Meg Goodman Richards—and six grandchildren.
James McClure, Jr.
James McClure, Jr. (LLB 53) currently serves as a senior partner of McClure & Shuler law firm in Sardis, Miss. McClure attended The University of Mississippi as a freshman and was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. He went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1946. He also served on the USMA Leadership Council.
McClure served three years in Germany as a U.S. combat engineer, then returned home in 1950 and entered the UM School of Law.
McClure served in the state Legislature as senator from 1952-56 and was a member of several special legislative study committees that led to the creation of the state retirement system and a major reorganization of the public school system.
Throughout the years, McClure has served as chair of the Lamar Order and as a member of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, the chancellor search committee and the UM Foundation board. He is a member of the Ole Miss Circle Society, Pacesetters, 1848 Society, UMAA Foundation and Chancellor’s Trust. In 1980, McClure was honored as the school’s Law Alumnus of the Year, and he was inducted into The University of Mississippi Hall of Fame in 2007. McClure and his late wife, Angele, have four children—Jimmy McClure III, Justin McClure, Angele McClure Thompson and Susan McClure Mays—and six grandchildren.
Honorable William F. Winter
William F. Winter (LLB 49) was born in Grenada, Miss., and was Mississippi’s 58th governor, serving 1980-84. In 1943, Winter received his undergraduate degree from The University of Mississippi. He then served as an infantry officer in the Philippines during World War II.
Winter returned to Oxford to attend law school and served as editor in chief of the Mississippi Law Journal. While he was still a student in law school, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1947 and re-elected in 1951 and 1955. From 1950-51, he served as the legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. John Stennis. He was recalled to active military duty to serve in the infantry during the Korean War.
In 1956, Winter conducted his first statewide campaign and was elected state tax collector. He held this position until, upon his recommendation, the office was abolished in 1964. He was then elected Mississippi state treasurer in 1964 and then lieutenant governor in 1972.
As governor, he is best remembered for the Education Reform Act of 1982. Among other things, this act is most famous for establishing kindergarten classes for all Mississippians. In 1989, he held the Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government at UM Law School and was the Eudora Welty Professor of Southern Studies at Millsaps College.
Winter was also instrumental in the conception and creation of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, which was established at UM in 1999. Though he has received numerous awards, the most recent was the 2008 Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library for his work advancing education and racial reconciliation.
He resides in Jackson with his wife, the former Elise Varner. They have three daughters—Anne V. Winter, Elise Winter Gillespie and Eleanor E. Winter—and five grandchildren.
Hall of Fame Submission
To submit a nomination, fill out the form below and include all relevant biographical information. Send all nominations in writing to:
Ole Miss Alumni Association
Triplett Alumni Center
c/o Scott Thompson
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
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Please e-mail curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, and other supporting documents for your nominee to Scott Thompson.