STCL Houston Gala Raises Nearly $500,000 for Scholarships
More than 400 alumni, faculty and staff members, judges, elected officials, and friends of South Texas College of Law Houston gathered Saturday for the law school’s 2019 Gala, which raised nearly $500,000 for scholarships.
Hosted at the Ballroom at Bayou Place, the black-tie Gala offered an opportunity for attendees to reconnect with classmates, honor the many individuals who are foundational to the school’s success, celebrate STCL Houston, and raise money to help alleviate students’ financial burden.
Gala Chairs Connie and Mike Hays ’74 and Gala Host Committee Chairs Elizabeth and Alexander Dwyer — Class of ’07 — emphasized the invaluable role of scholarships in the lives of STCL Houston students. They encouraged attendees to participate in the evening’s “Paddles Up” and live auction and to give from their hearts for current students, many of whom have families and hold jobs throughout their law school tenure.
Prior to the Paddles Up event, auctioneer Andrew Bost announced an exceptional fundraising challenge by STCL Houston alumnus and champion Richard H. Anderson, Class of ’82: If attendees collectively raised $100,000, he agreed to match the amount — all in support of scholarships. The gathered supporters exceeded Anderson’s challenge.
In addition to supporting students, the Gala honored outgoing STCL Houston President and Dean Don Guter, and his wife Pat, who have devotedly served the law school for the past decade. Guter is the 15thlongest-serving dean of the 209 American Bar Association-accredited law schools.
In his opening remarks, Hays noted, “Dean Guter, your leadership and guidance in steering the law school through both good and challenging times throughout the past 10 years has forever enhanced the quality and reputation of STCL Houston — on both the local and national stage. Thank you for the many ways you have made South Texas a better, more student-focused law school.”
In his remarks to the audience, Guter shared that attendance at the school’s 2019 Gala was the highest in school history. He also recounted memorable moments from his tenure at the helm of Houston’s oldest law school, and highlighted key achievements made by faculty, staff, students, and administrators since his arrival in 2009.
Notably, during Guter’s administration:
- The school’s Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics expanded from four to 19 specialized clinics that provide Houstonians with vital, pro bono legal representation;
- The budget has been balanced, and, indeed, produced a surplus every year;
- Debt was reduced from $12.3 million to $6 million; and
- The endowment grew from $29 million to $45 million.
Guter also shared that — while STCL Houston’s Advocacy program has maintained its status as one of only three law schools in the nation to be consistently ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s “Top 10” for Advocacy training — South Texas now also is widely known for oil and gas law, alternative dispute resolution, international law, and legal research and writing.
Guter also noted that STCL Houston’s annual tuition is 31 percent lower than the national law school average, its minority student population has grown to 45 percent, and it is nationally recognized by The National Jurist as a “Best Value” law school (2018).
Guter thanked the South Texas family for their support over the years, and welcomed new STCL Houston President and Dean Michael Barry and his wife, Lee, who were in attendance and will join the law school in August.
At the conclusion of the Gala, J. Ken Johnson, chairman of the STCL Houston board of directors, announced that, pending board approval, the “bullpen” of the school’s Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics will be named in honor of Don and Pat Guter for their many contributions over the last decade.
To view photos from the Gala, visit www.stcl.edu/gala.