On Sunday, Jan. 27, Phi Alpha Omega, and the Kappa Iota chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, SororityAKA, Inc. (AKA), celebrated the 100-year anniversary of AKA at the Garden Room on Dickson Street at 4 p.m. It was a wonderful program and dinner, and there were about 150 people there. Chapter members presented the history of the sorority and also of both the Northwest Arkansas chapters – Phi Alpha Omega and Alpha Iota. There were musical selections, and Lionel Jordan, the Vice Mayor of Fayetteville, read a proclamation designating January 15, 2008 Alpha Kappa Alpha Day in Fayetteville. Tjuana Byrd, a former member of the Kappa Iota undergraduate chapter, and currently a North Little Rock Assistant City Attorney, gave the remarks for the occasion. It was a wonderful event, and it is an exciting time for the members of Alpha Kappa Alpha as we celebrate 100 years of service.


Following the program, I had dinner with Philip Hood. Philip is the union-side, employee-side representative on the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission. He was named to the position Jan. 9, 2007 and appointed to a six-year term after being a member of the Workforce Investment Board. His background is one that I find sympatico. He is the President of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 105. He worked in the air transportation industry for approximately 10 years. While there, he was a member of the International Association of Machinist and nwa logoAerospace Workers. Hood served as president for more than a thousand members of his local. It was composed of employees from Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and TWA. He also is currently a member of the executive board of the Arkansas AFL-CIO. He and I had dinner at Copelands of Louisiana and sw airlines logovisited about workplace issues— workerscopeland’s compensation, unions, legislation and the decline of unions in the country and in Arkansas. It was a wonderful meal, very lively and just fun to sit down with someone else with a union background and to visit about those issues. For the foodies out there, Commissioner Hood had a steak and potato, and I had the blackened bayou chicken. One of the most exciting things about the visit is that he is looking to hire one or two students as interns with him during this summer. We are excited about that opportunity, and I suspect that many of our students will be interested in applying for these positions. If you are, please see Susan Snell.

Monday was busy as well. We had a faculty meeting that day, and I had a chance to sit down and brainstorm with Professors Judges and Kelley about the shape and future and potential funding sources for the Ukraine initiative. That was really a good discussion and also, it seems, a very promising program. We’re looking forward to building on that.

The next day Heidi Ernst, a writer for Lutheran magazine, interviewed me about my role here and also my work on behalf of workers and immigrants.

Wednesday was a very full day. At 7 a.m. I had breakfast with Mike Johnson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities. It was fun to catch up with him and to thank him again for all the attention he’s given to the law school and for refurbishingcommon grounds our facilities. Mike is great, and it was good to see him even though it was 7 a.m. We went to Common Grounds and both had the breakfast casserole and coffee. At lunch, I ate with Lieutenant Colonel Taylor sea food market logofrom the Army ROTC program and we went to Seafood Market Grill on West Street. We caught up about our vacations. He and his family went to Disneyworld and received a number of special recognitions. They just happened to be at the right place at the right time, and he was still tickled about that experience. It’s always good to see him again, and I am very grateful for our friendship.

That evening I had dinner with sorors Myra McKenzie and Ronetta Francis from Wal-Mart Legal. We met at Bonefish Grill in Rogers to catch up and talk politics, families and law. Ronetta has just recently relocated to northwest Arkansas, so we had plenty to chat about! We also thought out loud about how to get the Wal-Mart attorneys more directly involved with our students, like through mentor relationships. For dinner, Ronetta had the coconut crusted shrimp appetizer and the lump crab and corn chowder soup, Myra hand the Bonefish salad and Diablo shrimp fettuccini, and I had the same salad and the pistachio parmesan crusted rainbow trout with steamed veggies. For dessert, Ronetta had key lime pie, Myra had a brownie, and I had the crème brulée. All of the food was delicious. The weather wasn’t terrific, but their company certainly was.

Art DisplayThis seems like a good place to mention the art project at the south entrance of the law school. The project was part of a symposium hosted by the University, and the piece displayed outside our building was made by artist Jeff Forster. His piece was chosen by New York City art critic John Perreault from more than 200 entries, and displayed alongside 30 other artist works. The art pieces were displayed all over campus and along downtown Fayetteville, and Mr. Perreault came to town to view the works personally. Jeff was one of three artists who received awards from Mr. Perreault for their work.

Friday, Feb. 1, Malcolm, Teri, and I travelled to Little Rock to visit with Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers, where I gave a law school update. While we were there, we had the pleasure of visiting with Judge Rick Taylor, our alum and aArk Women Lawyers2 bankruptcy judge. He gave us a tour of his chambers, as well as all of the beautiful, restored courtrooms. Judge Taylor is a wonderful friend of the law school, and he was a great host. Thank you very much Judge Taylor. We enjoyed the time we spent with you. After hanging out with the Judge, we went upstairs for our presentation and Judge rick Taylorlunch with the women lawyers association. Colleagues from the UALR School of Law attended as well. There was lots of excitement about all the changes around the law school but especially the fact that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be coming on Oct. 3, 2008, to dedicate the building. Our visit with them is always one of the highlights of the year. Everyone is so very gracious and warm, and I just want to say thanks again to everyone for their wonderful hospitality.

AfterMLKwards, in an unexpected treat, we were invited to UALR School of Law to watch and participate in the ceremony acknowledging Black History Month. The ceremony honored the black legal pioneers, social and civil rights activists who were leaders in the struggle for equality and justice. It was a very moving ceremony led by Professor Adjoa Aiyetoro. As part of the commemoration we released a number of balloons in the park across from the law school. Afterwards there was a reception at the law school building with Dean Chuck Goldner, Cory Childs, the president of SBA, and other members of the law school commMLK2unity. Black Law Student Association members and the Student Bar Association recognized and appreciated the black faculty and staff at UALR’s law school and also Chuck Goldner for his efforts on behalf of diversity. It was just such a pleasure and a privilege to be able to be there to share that moment, especially given that Dean Goldner is such a good friend and has been so supportive of our law school. I’m just sad he’s going to be stepping down as dean, but I’m very, very grateful to him for his friendship and guidance over this year and a half that I’ve been in the deanship.

After an exciting end to the week, it was time to hit the road again for Fayetteville!