Thursday, November 27, 2014

In Memoriam: Harry Reed, 1923-2014

By Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

     “You want to try teaching Texas land titles?” That question from Joe Williamson began Harry Reed’s 62-year relationship with South Texas College of Law in 1952. At the time, Joe Williamson and Harry both worked at Shell Oil. Williamson was an adjunct at South Texas and in January of that year he asked if Harry wanted to join him in academia. Harry taught as an adjunct from 1952 until Shell transferred him to New York in 1957. He returned to Texas in 1959, and once again began teaching. He taught as an adjunct until 1978, when he developed high blood pressure and decided “not tempt fate any more by carrying on two careers.” He took a break from teaching until he retired from Shell in 1985, then he returned full-time to South Texas where his friend and former co-worker Joe Willliamson was Dean.
     Harry has seen South Texas go from a part-time night school in the basement of the YMCA to a school on the cutting-edge of legal education and he played a vital role in that transformation. In addition to being one of the school’s most popular professors, Harry served as the school’s general counsel for almost two decades, starting two days after he was hired full-time in 1985.  During that time he reviewed contracts and offered advice to four Deans, and assisted the College in obtaining full accreditation by the ABA in the mid to late 1980s.
     He’s seen the student body change as well. In the 1950s and 60s, the student body was primarily men with full-time jobs and families. Women have always been admitted to South Texas, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when the enrollment of women and minorities started to increase. The student body became younger when the school offered a full-time program, with students coming straight from their undergraduate studies. “There have been a lot of impressive students over the years. It’s very gratifying when they come back very mature and doing well to express a great thanks to me and the college.”
     Harry was a leader, an inspiration, and a beloved colleague. He had a sharp wit and an incredible mind. This is the time of year when we all count our blessings and are thankful for all we have. We at South Texas will forever be thankful for Harry Reed.
     A Memorial service will be held at United Methodist Church, 1320 Main St., Houston, TX, 77002, on November 29, 2014, at 10am. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church, Houston. Contributions can also be made to the scholarship fund being established in Harry’s name by South Texas College of Law, 1303 San Jacinto St, Houston, TX 77002.
     You can view Harry’s obituary here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Accreditation

By Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

On November 21, 1928, South Texas School of Law received accreditation from the Supreme Court of Texas. The Supreme Court deemed the education at South Texas to be of such a high standard that its graduates were exempt from the bar exam.  The Order was reprinted in the 1929-1930 South Texas School of Law Catalog & Yearbook, p. 14:

To view the catalog in its entirety, or to view other early Catalogs, please visit our Digital Collections.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Collection Spotlight - Exam Preparation Aids

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

The Library has many resources
to assist you in preparing for exams.
Many of them can be found in KF 283
(Reserve and Main4).
There are also online aids --
see the Student Study Aids Channel
under the Library Tab on STANLEY.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Veteran's Day Edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

Private Fred Parks. December 1942
     Born in 1906 in Oklahoma (then called Indian Territory) to Nora Soden and John Parks, Fred Parks grew up poor. His father had abandoned the family shortly after his birth, and Fred worked several odd jobs as a teen to help his mother make ends meet. He first enrolled at South Texas School of Law in 1927, but was unprepared for law school. He dropped out and enrolled in Rice Institute. When the Great Depression began, he could no longer afford to go to school. He worked for the next four years and in 1934, he re-enrolled in South Texas School of Law. He worked several jobs while attending law school and at times was homeless and would sleep in the city cemetery.  Upon graduation in 1937, he began working for the Houston law firm of Burris & Benton. He became active in the local and state bar, serving first as the Director for the Houston Junior Bar Association, and then the President of the HJBA.
     Once World War II began, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and was assigned to the Judge Advocate’s Office at Brooks Field in San Antonio. He applied for, and was accepted to, Officer Candidate School, and upon completion was sent to Italy as part of the 464th Bomb Group, which was the Intelligence wing of the 15th Army Air Force, in 1943. Captain Fred Parks was released from active duty in 1946. He returned to Houston with the ETO ribbon with six stars and the Bronze Star. He opened his own law office specializing in civil law, including personal injury.
     Fred Parks remained active in the local and state legal community, serving as Director and Vice-President of the Texas Bar Association.  He wrote and spoke extensively on the law throughout his career, and in the 1950s he also taught law at South Texas College of Law. He was involved with some famous cases, including an inheritance dispute over the Galveston Moody family money and actress Hedy Lamarr’s divorce from Houston millionaire Howard Lee. He wound down his law practice in the 1980s, after 50 years of practice.
     Fred Parks is the largest benefactor in the history of South Texas College of Law. He passed away October 18, 2001, at age 95, one month before the dedication of the Fred Parks Law Library, which featured his friend President George Bush. Mr. Parks said that he believed in the American Dream because he experienced it. Born poor, he earned his success through hard work and determination. A member of a generation “hardened by the Great Depression and tempered by war”, his fortitude and spirit are an inspiration.
     This Veterans Day we thank Mr. Parks and all those who have served.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Collection Spotlight - Veterans Day Edition

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

Veterans and their families may have specialized legal needs.
The Library has resources to assist them.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Election edition

By Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

The mid-term election is over and regardless of whether your candidate won, we hope you all participated in the democratic process and voted. One of the positions on the ballot was that of Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice, and The Honorable Nathan Hecht was elected. Judge Hecht was first elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988, and he was appointed Chief Justice in 2013.

In December 2002, STCL was fortunate to have Judge Hecht as our commencement speaker.

Judge Hecht with Harry Hutchuns and Professor East

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Collection Spotlight - Election Edition

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

Texas is one of only a handful states that
elect their judges in partisan races.

Monday, November 3, 2014

What are South Texas Book Awards?

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Interesting question of the day: "Do you have, somewhere in the library and available to students, the book awards showing the highest grades from every past class?"
Although I have been here at South Texas for almost 30 years, I had never heard the term "book award" before. So, I searched Google and learned that a "book award" is bestowed by a law school on each law school student who earns the highest grade in a particular class. Some law schools name their awards after a distinguished alumnus and other schools have allowed donors to sponsor the awards and name them after the donor. 
I asked a colleague if she had ever heard of such an award here at South Texas. She said, at one time, South Texas did have "Am Jur" awards -- presumably the awards were sponsored by Lawyers Cooperative, the publisher of American Jurisprudence (aka "AmJur"). She suggested perhaps the College Archives might have a list of these awards. No such luck in the Archives, so I contacted the Registrar and asked if she was familiar with the term "Am Jur"-ing a course, and, if so, did South Texas still award them? She said that we do, but now they're sponsored by and named after the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI).

A list of CALI Awards for South Texas for each semester 2007-present is available from the CALI website. Who knew?