Law School News

Houston Community Joins STCL Houston in Celebrating its Centennial Founder’s Day April 13


For immediate release, April 18, 2023

A day of celebrations marked South Texas College of Law Houston’s Centennial Founder’s Day April 13 on the campus of Houston’s oldest law school.

Addressing an audience of some 500 alumni, community leaders, faculty, staff and students, STCL Houston Board Chair Genora Boykins ’85 kicked off the day’s activities. She welcomed the audience and a slate of guest speakers that included judges, community leaders, and federal, state, and local officials.  From Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, each emphasized the significant contributions South Texas has made to the community in its first 100 years.

Dave Oelman, a member of the STCL Houston Board of Visitors and a great-grand nephew of the law school’s founding dean, Judge Joseph C. Hutcheson, Jr., introduced STCL Houston President and Dean Michael F. Barry. A partner at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins, Oelman included historical context and family recollections about Judge Hutcheson in his introductory remarks.

Dean Barry delivered a  multi-media presentation, “STCL at 100,” highlighting the law school’s many accomplishments over the last century and its distinguished place in the region’s legal community. The presentation provided an historical background and timeline, interwoven with the school’s commitment to its mission.

“I stand here in awe today of what this law school has accomplished over a century… the opportunities created, the doors opened, the minds sharpened, the lives changed,” Barry said. “South Texas has contributed greatly to the legal community and has changed the face of law in Houston, in Texas, and across the country.”

Many national, state, and local organizations and individuals marked the day by issuing special proclamations, including Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, City Councilman Robert Gallegos, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who proclaimed April 13 as “South Texas College of Law Day.”


Other guest speakers included U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, State Bar of Texas President Laura Gibson, YMCA of Greater Houston President and CEO Stephen Ives, and Executive Director Betty Balli Torres of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

A number of guests who could not attend were featured in recorded remarks, including Governor Greg Abbott, U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Texas Representative and STCL Houston alumna Ann Johnson, and Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben.

In addition to the presentations and the dean’s address, the Centennial Founders Day Celebration included a 24-hour Give Day fundraiser. The goal was to raise 100 for 100 or $100,000 for 100 years of legal education, and the results were impressive. Give Day raised $117,924 from 256 donors. Alumna Sharon Schweitzer ’89 stepped up with a leadership gift of $50,000 to challenge her fellow alumni to make their own commitment during Give Day. Alumni can still give by going to my.stcl.edu/giveday.

“The law school of the future does not yet exist,” Barry said. “It is our collective responsibility to envision it. And then it is our responsibility to create it. For 100 years, we have provided individuals with a chance. And future generations are counting on us to innovate and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of students — and the legal profession — for the decades to come.”

The future of STCL Houston will build on its strong foundation. Barry said, “We will remain true to our history and our mission. We will strive for excellence in all we do. We will commit ourselves to diversity. We will create opportunity. And we will be bold in service to our community and our profession.”