Friday, January 12, 2018

South Texas College of Law turns 95

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

     This year marks the 95th anniversary of South Texas College of Law. Officially founded in April 1923, the South Texas School of Law was part of the United YMCA Schools, and was one of twenty YMCA evening law schools in the country.  Operating out of three rooms in the YMCA located at the corner of Fannin and McKinney streets, the first class was taught by seven part-time instructors who were the “most successful lawyers and ablest judges of the Houston Bar.” At the School’s opening ceremony the dean, Judge Joseph C. Hutchison, Jr., addressed the newly formed South Texas community, stating, “We will promise nothing now as to what we will fulfill, for we believe that we can do much more than we can now promise.”
     Through the years, the College has proven Judge Hutchison’s statement true. South Texas was the first law school in the US to offer an oil & gas course, the first Texas school to offer the Juris Doctorate degree, and we remain the #1 Law School for Advocacy in the nation. We were at the forefront of continuing education, hosting not only the Oil & Gas Lecture Series starting in 1935, but offering returning GIs refresher courses after WWII.
     On display now in the Library lobby are items from the College Archive that celebrate the spirit of South Texas, our commitment to our students, and our role in the development of Houston’s legal history over the last 9 decades.