Tuesday was another day full of activities. The first thing in the morning there was a conference call with my co-panelists from The Center for American and International Law, Phil Lyon and Yona Rozen. We were planning our ethics panel for a conference on April 23, so we had plenty of time to prepare. After the conference call that morning, members of the law school community met for a strategic planning session. The session focused on scholarship: types of scholarship, ways to encourage scholarship and ways to create a more scholarly law school community. It was a very thoughtful and helpful conversation. I’m looking forward to the next session and to the strategic planning committee’s recommendations.

After lunch, we were very fortunate to have Marc Kesselman, the general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, speak in the E.J. Ball Courtroom. That visit was made possible by Harrison Pittman who worked diligently to arrange the General Counsel Kesselman’s visit. Mr. Kesselman’s speech was about his perspectives on regulatory reform and agriculture in a period of evolving challenges. He also spoke about a range of issues including the ongoing farm bill debate, climate change and environmental law issues associated with agriculture. I was able to talk with him briefly, but I missed his talk to the law school community because I had to attend the Council of Deans meeting with central administration. We discussed a number of campus-wide issues. That meeting lasted about an hour, and then it was back to the law school to greet General Counsel Kesselman and to thank him for coming to visit us.

That evening brought a special event, the Washington Regional Foundation Annual Gala Benefit performance featuring Righteous Brother, Bill Medley, at the Walton Arts Center (The Morning News Article) Thanks very much to Teri Stafford’s mom, Joyce Stafford, for providing me with a ticket. The Washington Regional Medical Foundation was formed in 1988 as a not-for-profit, charitable organization to support the mission of Washington Regional Medical System by promoting healthcare improvement through philanthropy and outreach services. The Foundation provides a means by which concerned individuals, corporations and foundation can take an active role in sustaining the future of healthcare locally. Over the past 20 years, Washington Regional Foundation has raised over $30 million to help improve the health of Northwest Arkansas. The proceeds from the fundraising concert were to go to the senior specialty unit which offers highly specialized medical care for active aging parents of northwest Arkansas and is one of the few in the nation to offer such a specialized in-patient unit.

I was really grateful to be able to attend because one of our very own, Woody Bassett, was a 2008 Eagle Award Honoree along with Dr. Malcolm Hayward (Washington regional Foundation News). Woody’s service is from the heart, giving back to his community without waiver. He devotes an enormous amount of his personal time and resources to benefit a variety of causes that are close to his heart. He was Chairman of Washington Regional’s North Hills $5 million capital campaign from 1999-2001 and is presently co-chair for Washington Regional’s $14 million Rise and Shine Campaign. Other organizations that have been fortunate enough to benefit as a result of his leadership and service include the University of Arkansas, United Way of Washington County, Lifestyles, Inc., Fayetteville Public Library, Fayetteville Community Foundation and Central United Methodist Church, where he is an active member. Woody also serves on many boards of directors, which include Bank of Fayetteville, Washington Regional Foundation, Washington Regional Medical System, Washington Regional Medical Center, Fayetteville Community Foundation, Life Styles and United Way of Northwest Arkansas. There was a wonderful video about Woody’s childhood and contributions to the community, and we’re so very proud of him.

I saw a number of our law school alumni there, but before I get to that, I’d like to point out that the 2006 Eagle Award winner was our own beloved Richard Atkinson who received that award posthumously. Morriss Henry, also our alum, was a recipient of the Eagle Award in 2003 and Lewis Epley received the Eagle Award in 1999. Senator David Pryor also received the award in 1997, so as you can see a number of our alums have been awarded the Eagle Award. Woody was the latest honoree in a long line of School of Law alumni who continue to contribute to the community in substantial ways.

After the gala there was a reception at which Teri Stafford and I saw Woody and gave him our congratulations. We also saw Lewis Epley, as well as Carolyn Allen, the Greenwoods and a number of other folks who make a difference in Northwest Arkansas. After that it was time to dash home to pack for the trip to New York.