Monday, Jan. 21 was the university’s recognition of MLK day. There were no classes, the buildings were closed and I hope that everyone had a chance to reflect on how his legacy has created many of the opportunities and interactions that we all enjoy today.

That evening was the 12th Annual MLK Recommitment Banquet and thanks very much to Sharon Foster, Carl Circo, Chancellor WhiteBobbi Johnson, Amy and Scott Dodson and my mom for sharing the table at that dinner. Special highlights were the award given to Chancellor White for his efforts on behalf of diversity and Mayor Dan Coody’s reading of a proclamation officially changing the name of 6th Street to MLK Street. The keynote speaker was Dr. Roderick McDavis, President of Ohio University, formerly the Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions here at the University of Arkansas He talked about the significance and importance of diversity in higher education. At the end of the program the MLK Commission presented awards to corporate entities for their support of diversity efforts, and named Cox Communications the Corporation of the Year. Then there were a number of scholarships given out including the Rodney Momon Youth Award to Kendra Johnson, the Individual Achievement award to Dr. Charles Robinson, the Lifetime Achievement Award to Larry Slamons and the Rev. J. Aaron Hawkins Sr. Posthumous Award to John Lewis. Congratulations again to all the award recipients. Because the weather was terrible and it had started to sleet and ice over, many people left the dinner early. Fortunately, we were able to stay until the end to hear the closing remarks by Ernestine Gibson, Chair of the Commission (and a sorority sister ☺ ).

Dean Nance, Mayor Dan Coody, his wife Deb Coody and Fern Nance

On Wednesday, I was invited to speak at NWACC for Black History Month. Chris Irwin, producer and director of Silas Hunt: A Documentary, joined me there as well as Jerry Moore, director of NWACC Upward Bound and a Silas Hunt historian. The audience viewed the Silas Hunt film, and then the three of us participated in a panel about the legacy of Silas, what he means to each of us, and how we think things have changed over time. It was wonderful to visit NWACC, and to see the wonderful diversity there. Thanks very much to NWACC for the opportunity to participate in that program.

On Thursday, Terri Stafford, Ray Guzman, Malcom McNair and I left for the Arkansas Bar Association Mid-Winter Meeting in Memphis, Tenn. at the Peabody Hotel. We hosted a reception during which we presented an update on the law school and visited with a number of great folks. More than 50 guests attended the event. Thanks to Ray Guzman, who is leaving us at the end of this year, for coming with us to visit with alums. It was a fun event, and we were excited to host it and look forward to doing so again next year.

Thursday evening, Rick Ramsay, our alum and the President of the Arkansas Bar AssociaMemphis_Jim and Jan Sprotttion, invited us to the president’s dinner at Felicia Suzanne’s Restaurant. It was a small, intimate setting and again, we were very pleased to be invited to be a part of that wonderful gathering. I shared a table with one of our alums, Lamont Pettus, and his wife Donna (congratulations to Donna who will be president of the Arkansas Bar Association in two years), Jim and Jan Sprott (Jim is immediate past-president of the Arkansas Bar Association), Karen Hutchins, executive director of the Arkansas Bar Association, and Malcolm. And, by the way, for the foodies out there, the food was fabulous. There was yummy crab cake appetizer and delicious scallop and lobster pasta dish. Did I say the food was great? Although it was a chilly evening outside the company was warm and the conversation fun.

Friday, the Bar Association had a two-track CLE program during which our own Harrison Pittman spoMemphiske on the Arkansas recreational use statute and its application to agricultural and rural land owners. During the day, I was able to meet with a number of our alums as well as to spend some time with Terri Stafford, to think about ideas for programs for the future as well as outreach ideas. Friday evening Bartels Law Firm of Jonesboro sponsored a wonderful dinner at the Rendevous Rib Restaurant. A number of our alums attended along with the rest of the bar. After dinner there was a dessert reception on the Peabody mezzanine, which was a great opportunity to socialize with many members of the Arkansas Bar Association including Chalk Mitchell, Denise Hoggard and her husband, Glen Hoggartt.

Our trip to Memphis was filled with a few surprises. When we stopped at a gas station in Ozark, we ran into Ben Carter, Director of Development for Mullins Library. In Little Rock at the Grille (where I had a fabulous grilled salmon sandwich) we saw Rhet Tucker, whose son Clark is a 2006 School of Law grad. Also, on the way back, we stopped at Trio’s (their shrimp enchiladas were terrific) and saw Cassie Baldwin and David Beran, both 2005 grads. It just goes to show that friends and alums of the law school are everywhere!


Saturday we returned to Fayetteville happy after a wonderful weekend at the Bar Association meeting and the opportunity to meet and great our alums.