Archives for the month of: May, 2008

group 1Saturday – Graduation Day! I always feel excited and nervous about graduation day. I really want it to be the very best ceremony for the students and family and friends who have come from everywhere. I also feel a little bit melancholy about the students who will be leaving. That’s one of the quirks of teaching. Just as you get to really know the students, it’s time for them to go on into the next phase of their life. Anyway, graduation was at 2:00 p.m. at the Fayetteville Town Center.
Class of 2008 graduates:

Allison B. Adams
Parvez F. Ahmed
William Chris Allen
Jeremy S. Ament
D.J. Beaty
Jessica Michelle Beel
Justin G. Bennett
Dawn M. Bertram
Janice E. Bowden
Natasha Cheatham Bowman
Le Ann P. Box
Jason J. Boyeskie
Cherise A. Bozeman
Michael D. Brechlin
Emily Ruth Bridges
Joshua Sean Bryant
William M. Burk
Chase Carmichael
Harley D. Caudle
Kimberly C. Clark
Suzanne G. Clark
Kelly Christian Comarda
Christopher Cordero
George Adam Cossey
Sarah Emeline Cox
Blake Crawford
David B. Cripps
Seth Parker Crosland
John William Crow
Leta M. Darling
Dustin R. Darst
Jonathan DavisGroup 4
Christopher Dawkins
Matthew A. Dempsey
Robert L. Depper III
Suba Sruti Desikan
Asia N. Diggs
Amanda J. Dillon
Kimberly D. Dixon
Benjamin T. Donathan
Robert P. Dougherty III
Carey E. Dowdy
Heather Dunn
Timothy L. Evans
Patrick Feilke
Branch T. Fields
Samantha S. Fields
Ron Fink Jr.
Jennifer C. Fiser
Kristin F. Freeman
Robert B. Gibson III
Daniel B. Gold
Travis Allen Gray
Kevin Griffith, M.D.
David C. Hardaway
Dewayne Harley
Richard W. Hebar
Sara E. Heck
Ashley D. Henry
Jera Rae Houghtaling
Nichole C. Howard
Angela Hyde
Adam R. Jackson
Hope Lauresha Jackson
Matthew S. Jackson
Nicholas James Jackson
Timothy G. Johnson
Brett Kaehne
Jason P. Kearney
James Kemp
April N. Kersten
Matthew J. Kraft
Eugene Krupitsky
Jonathan Kwan
Joy E. Latimer
Alanna E. Martinsky
Brandon J. Massey
Madra Deanne McAdoogroup 3
Ashlei N. McAllister
Jesse L. McCombs
Shyretta Rochelle McCrackin
Alex R. Merritt
Matthew L. Mooney
Christopher A. Nebben
Ronald Noble
Trace T. Northcross
M. Christina Northern
Michael T. Nutt
Brandon Oliver
Benjamin Oxford
Matthew Panach
Talley R. Parker
Charles W. Pearce
Blake E. Pennington
William C. Pharis
David D. Phillips
Michael D. Pierce
Lecia V. Powell
Kendall P. Pringle
Virginia Ann Raffaelli
Justin M. Rains
Ryan A. Ray
Mark Robertson
James A. Roller
Michael Bayless Rowe
Lee Taylor Samples
William R. Sanders
Susan L. Scott
Timothy Ryan Scott
Stacey L. Self
Christopher R. Smiley
Emily A. Sprott
Teaven Stamatis
Rachel N. St. Fleur
Phillip Stone
Whitney Paige Strack
Kelvin P. Stroud
Michael Tate
Stephen Terry
Saundra M. Thompsongroup 2
Jonathan T. Torres
Pamela J. Tucker
Grady R. Turner
Thomas A. Watson
Carlyle C. White
Peggy Hirschey Williams
Eric Joel Wilson
Qiana N. Wilson
Kaycee Leigh Wolf
Ashley R. Wright
Wade A. Wright
Robert Ryan Younger
Guang Y. Zeng
The morning started when I brewed a pot of coffee and reviewed the graduation script, making last minute adjustments. Next, I arrived early at the Town Center and there were many hugs and photographs with graduates. Then it was time to find and to greet our speaker, Judge Bobby Shepherd, and our representative of the Alumni Association, Lewis E. Epley.
Judge Shepherd was confirspeakermed to the U.S. Court of Appeals on July 20, 2006. He has a distinguished record as a practicing attorney and magistrate judge with extensive civil and criminal litigation experience. He graduated magna cum laude from Ouchita Baptist University and received his J.D., with high honors from the University of Arkansas where he was an editor of the law review.

Lewis Epley, Class of 1961, is a native of Springdale. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1961 with a B.S. in public administration from Walton College and a J.D. from the School of Law. Since graduating, Lewis has built a combined career that has included law, banking, business and public service. His service to the University is exemplary. A former member of the Board of Trustees, he served as Chairman of the Trustees from 1996-98. He has continued his University ties serving as a member of various committees, including the steering committee for the Campaign for the 21st Century, the 2010 Commission and the Arkansas Alumni Board of Directors.

Also, this year we were delighted to have Chancellor Elect Gearhart (who is also our alum) join us as a member of the platform party as well as Provost Bob Smith. This was his very last UofA graduation as a platform official because he is stepping down as Provost. It meant SO much to me to have him there. He’s been such a wonderful friend and mentor to me. It was wonderful to have him attClass Speakerend our graduation as well. In addition, Johnetta Cross Brazzell and her husband, Dan, attended this year’s commencement. As you can see, we had quite a number of dignitaries and that’s not even mentioning the members of the Bar who also attended. Speaking of dignitaries, I’ve teased Dr. Henderson my dentist in my blog. He was there because, as it turns out, he is a friend of the family of Patrick Feilke.

At 2:00 p.m. sharp we processed in and went through the graduation ceremony. By the way if any of you are interested, we do record that and you can get a professional DVD of the ceremony. Our graduation speaker from the Class of 2008 was Tim Evans. Tim is originally from El Dorado, Arkansas. He received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Illinois. In addition to being a musician with a wicked sense of humor, Tim was an excellent student. He served as an Associate Editor of the Arkansas Law Review. He also participated in moot court competitions and was on the winning team of the 2007 Benjamin J. Altheimer Moot Court competition and was named best oralist in that competition. After graduation he and his family will move to Dallas where he will practice with the Thompson and Knight law firm.

One of the highlights of the ceremony besides conferral of degrees of course, are the awards given to aAward recipeint number of our graduates. This year those awards went to:

ï American Bankruptcy Institute Medal for Excellence in Bankruptcy Studies – Blake E. Pennington
ï ALI-ABA Scholarship & Leadership Award – Jera Rae Houghtaling
ï Medico – Legal Prize – LeAnn P. Box
ï Craig Sterne Memorial Award – Estate Planning & Taxation – Thomas A. Watson
ï M. Jeff Starling Jr. Award – Labor and Employment Law – Hope Lauresha Jackson
ï Bobby Fussell Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award – Susan L. Scott
ï W.B. Putnam American Inn of Court Pupil Award – M. Christina Northern & Justin M. Rains
ï Bogle-Sharp Award – Asia N. Diggs
ï Joe C. Barrett Award – Commercial Transactions – Richard W. Hebar
ï Trial Advocacy Prize – Jonathan Davis
ï The Lewis E. Epley, Jr. Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching went to Prof. Ned Snow who was selected by the Class of 2008 for that honor.
ï Bard Rogan Natural Resources Law Award – Timothy L. Evans
ï Appellate Advocacy Prize – Ryan A. Ray
ï Outstanding Contribution to the Law School Community Award – Ryan A. Ray
ï Outstanding Contribution to Law School Publications Award – Suzanne G. Clark
ï James H. McKenzie Award – Professional Responsibility & Ethics – Talley R. Parker
ï High Academic Achievement Award – Talley R. Parker
ï W.J. Arnold Memorial Award – Matthew Panach
ï T.C. & Rosemary Carlson Memorial Award – Constitutional Law – Robert Ryan Younger
ï Outstanding Academic Achievement Award – Robert Ryan Younger

This year the law faculty and university administration conferred a very special degree. In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the admission of Silas Hunt to the law school, we awarded to Precious Hunt Williams, his cousin, his degree. Chancellor Elect Gearhart joined me in presenting tHunt recipienthat to her. For those of you who don’t know, Silas Hunt was the first African American admitted to the School of Law in 1948. He was the first student to integrate a major southern university without incident and we’re very, very proud of that tradition. His legacy is remembered on our campus by Silas H. Hunt Hall, which houses the University’s admissions office, and by the Silas H. Hunt Distinguished Scholarships. The faculty and central administration felt that given the 60th anniversary of his admission it was especially appropriate to grant him this additional honor.

A number of very excited folks came up from Texarkana with Precious Hunt Williams to be present for that moment:

– Her daughter, Kandi L. Williams, and her three children, Jessika, Jasmine and David
– Rebecca Ollison (Board Member of the Silas H. Hunt Community Development Center)
– Joy Andrews (Board Member of the Silas H. Hunt Community Development Center)
– Patricia Whitaker (Board Member of the Silas H. Hunt Community Development Center)
– Janetta Kearney (Board Member of the Silas H. Hunt Community Development Center)
– Elmer Beard (Board Member of the Silas H. Hunt Community Development Center)
– Eddie Walker (High School Classmate of Silas)
It was an honor and a privilege to have them there to witness this wonderful event and for me to bestow a degree to Silas Herbert Hunt.

After graduation, there was a lovely reception on the terrace of the Town Center and after many, many pictures, hugs, greetings from family and graduates, and congratulatory remarks, I left. I had a very quiet meal at Basil’s Café in Village Parkway with my mom. It’s upscale dining featuring a variety of cuisines, including American, French and Italian. If you would like a place to compare it to, think Theo’s or Ella’s at Carnall Hall, but a little bit more out of the beaten path. I’d highly recommend Basil’s. It has very good food, an extensive wine list, and fresh ingredients.

My mom had a caesar salad and I had the basil salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, a variety of lettuces, a little bit of cheese, and the salad dressing was a Gorgonzola dressing. It was a very good salad. For dinner I had the crab cake pasta, which was crab cakes on top of rigatoni pasta with a nice cheesy cream sauce. Pretty decadent I know, but I didn’t eat bread. My mom had an interesting mushroom-crusted salmon served over a mushroom risotto. Basil’s serves very interesting selections with, again, an extensive wine list, excellent service, and quiet atmosphere.

It dawned on me last year after graduation – just the emotional roller coaster of it: preparing to pep up for graduation, all the excitement around it, the sadness afterwards of the thought of the class moving on- that it was a good thing after that to have a quiet, contemplative dinner. Last year we went to Bella Vista to Blackboard Café, which I’ve described to you before, but this time we went to Basil’s, which is actually a favorite before going to the Gridiron (a roast of local and national politicians put on by local journalists). For dessert mom had a very moist chocolate brownie with coffee ice cream on the side and I had a vanilla bean crème brulee and we headed back to Fayetteville to rest and relax after a very exciting day.

The Friday before graduation is always reserved for graduation preparation. I have to say a special thanks to allView who pitched in to ensure that graduation would go off without a hitch. The folks who deserve all the credit are my assistant, Terri Yeakley- she works very closely with me on the preparation of the script, Malcolm McNair and Michele Payne- they fuss over the details, and Rhonda Adams our Registrar- she works very hard to insure that all the honors are calculated and that students actually obtain their degree the day of graduation. She also works with them to see that all their financial obligations are taken care of or they are at least aware of any outstanding obligations so that they obtain their degree. Jacque Fifer, Mary Herrington and Terri Yeakley also work tirelessly to get the diplomas ready for our students.

There are logistics involved, for example, making sure that the appropriate number of chairs are there, that the caterers have been contacted and everything is in place. I’d also like to send a very special thanks to Media Services who films our graduation for us every year, professionally and cordially. Finally, thanks to the photographers who ensure that our students will have a keepsake memento of their graduation View 2day. So all those things, and the last minute checks, take place on that Friday. In addition, there is always the anticipated arrival of our guests for the platform party. This year we had special guests from Texarkana and needed to make sure that their arrangements had been properly made and that there were no glitches in their arrival.

In addition to looking forward to and preparing for graduation the next day, we were also in the midst of the last minute preparations for the graduates’ reception to be held that evening at the Hembree Alumni House. This event is attended by faculty, staff, the graduates, and their families and friends. It’s a lovely setting and weather was terrific. We had a number of families there along with the grads. There were very delicious light hors d’vores as well as beer, wine and soft drinks. We have a number of pictures. I’ve posted them on my Facebook page so check them out. It was wondgrouperful to meet your families, to be able to visit with you, to see the excitement and to share in celebrating the joy of your success. I’ll miss you all very much, particularly as I taught half of this class in torts and feel very close to all of you. I wish you the best, Class of 2008!

After the reception, thank you very much to Emily Sprott, her fiancé, Jonathan McIllwain, her parents, Jim and Jan Sprott, and her uncle and aunt who invited me to join them for dinner. We went to Ghazi’s Pesto Café (although it’s no longer called that, it’s called Pesto Café). It’s a little Italian restaurant located in a motel here in Fayetteville on College Ave. The tag line is “authentic Italian cuisine”. It’s really small and on College, you wouldn’t even know it was there. A long time ago, Pesto Café used to be situated where Café Rue New Orleans is in the hotel across from Sprottthe VA Hospital, but they’ve been in their new location for a while now. It used to be called Ghazi’s Pesto Café because Ghazi had been a chef on a cruise ship when he first opened it, but he sold it to the current owners.

Anyway, that’s a long story to simply say thank you very much to the Sprott family for inviting me to share dinner with them. I hadn’t been there in a long, long time. We also ran into Jerry Ament and his family who ended up dining there as well. For the foodies out there, they have a very good dish called salmon rigatoni ala vodka and it’s described on the menu as fresh salmon sautéed with garlic and bell peppers glazed with vodka to make a delightful pink sauce over rigatoni pasta. Some of the rest of us had spaghetti and meat sauce or lasagna. Emily and her aunt had salad, and somebody had the chicken parmesan. It was a delightful way to end a long, long day and to celebrate with Emily. Best wishes on her upcoming wedding, next weekend, Memorial Day weekend. It was a delight to meet her aunt and uncle. Thank you very much for dinner. I appreciate it. After that it was time to scoot home and rest for the big day the next day, graduation day.

We were getting close to graduation. It was Thursday before graduation and there were a lot of last minute details to tend to. One of the more exciting things is that we would be awarding a posthumous degree to Silas Hunt. We learned that a large number of very excited people were coming from Texarkana to be a part of that honor. His cousin, Precious Hunt Williams, will receive the degree, but one of his high school friends as well as the pastor of the church in which he was raised as a young man and several members of the Silas H. Hunt Community Development Corporation will be coming as well. Part of the day was spent making sure that we had proper preparations for their visit.

I met that morning with Prof. Ann Killenbeck who is working on an interesting project concerning how to process student information. She will also be presenting a paper on diversity at the SEALS conference late this summer. Lunch was a can of hearty Campbell soup eaten at my desk. It is again (I said this before I know) a very busy time of year right before graduation, so I worked with Michele, Teri and Malcolm to make sure we had everything prepared for graduation.

At 4:30 p.m. I met with Prof. Ewelukwa. It was very, very interesting. For those of you who don’t know it, she actually has founded a non-profit that focuses on women’s and children’s issues in Nigeria and she’s written several very thoughtful essays or commentaries for the Guardian newspaper there, which is the main newspaper of Nigeria. She is working on some interesting scholarship including Sino-African relations and trade.

That evening, I met Professors Schneider and Goforth for a relaxing dinner and chit-chat. I appreciated them very much for pulling me away from my desk and for a lovely, relaxing evening.

Early Wednesday morning Jonathan Kwan, my former research assistant, dropped by. It was good to be able to visit with him. He shared his plans about going back to California and taking the California Bar prep course and the California Bar. He was excited about the fact that his parents were coming from California and his sister from the East Coast to attend graduation. I looked forward to meeting them and wished him well as he leaves us and goes forward into his new life. Thanks Jonathan for all the help you gave me as my research assistant. Keep in touch.

Lunch was delightful. At 11:30 a.m., I took our faculty and staff graduates to lunch. Our graduates are: Mark Morley, Angela Hackstadt, Heather Nelson, and Jason Springman. Unfortunately Angela wasn’t able to join us. I gave each graduate a bottle of champagne and we had lunch at Bordinos. It was a lot of fun and the meal was good, too. I had an open face crab sandwich. Mark had the wrap – marinated flank steak, fried red onions, and romaine lettuce with chunky Gorgonzola dressing and diced tomatoes wrapped in a herb and garlic tortilla and a dessert of tiramisu. Heather ordered the chicken wrap and a dessert of Golden baked apples in a fluffy bread pudding with caramel and vanilla sauces. Jason’s meal was the veggie sandwich – roasted mushrooms, havarti cheese, roasted red bell peppers with dill mousse, sliced avocado, cucumbers and mixed greens on toasted Pullman Bread and for dessert, a flourless chocolate cake with ganache and raspberry sauce. Each of our sandwiches came with homemade potato chips.

After a great lunch with them, I came back for three afternoon meetings- one with Prof. Flaccus, one with Prof. Matthews, and one with Prof. Mark Killenbeck. Prof. Flaccus and I visited about the progress of the courtyard, and some of the challenges that had arisen concerning the landscaping. She has volunteered an amazing amount of time to ensure the success and beauty of the plantings and I know all of us are grateful to her for her efforts.

I also met with Professor Matthews and Mark Killenbeck. They are both working on interesting scholarship. Professor Matthews is in the process of co-authoring a book on payment systems with Professor Steve Nickles. She is also working on a law review article that looks at Arkansas’ adoption of the Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act. Professor Killenbeck has written two entries for the Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions, 2nd ed. The entries cover the Gonzales v. Raich and Morse v. Frederick cases. He also completed entries on Bank of the United States; Spencer Roane; State Rights; and Joseph Story for the Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States. He is in the process of completing the second in a series of periodic essays for Historically Speaking, this one on the topic of Chisholm v. Georgia and Textual Fidelity. With all that, he is also working on a Vanderbilt Law Review article entitled, “Justice William Johnson, Nationalist.”

Once the day ended, I went home looking forward to reading the newspaper and relaxing. It’s a busy time of year including the annual faculty review meetings, as well as my own review with Provost Smith.

There were no meetings scheduled in the morning, so the first official thing that kicked off the day was lunch with UAPD Chief Steve Gahagans. He has been here around 4 or 5 years as Assistant Chief and when Officer Slammons retired, he became the Chief. I’d never had a chance to talk with him. We’ve been in meetings together and seen each other in passing. He was very helpful with some difficult law school issues, so I invited him to lunch as a way of saying thanks. He picked me up out front and we went to Taste of Thai. I know, I’m kind of doing a lot of Thai lately, but it’s pretty healthy and light. Anyway, we went to Taste of Thai. He’s not a big Thai food regular so I suggested that he try the barbeque Thai chicken with vegetables and he enjoyed it. I had the combo Pad See Eu which I highly recommend. Three stars (that is in spiciness). We had a wonderful conversation during which I discovered that he’s very, very funny. I guess I don’t think of police officers as being funny, especially Steve because when he is around campus he is pretty serious. It was great to get to know him a little bit better.

I learned that he has many years of law enforcement experience and we’re really fortunate to have him. One of the things he’s going to help us with this summer is a detailed security plan for the law school, which was one of the things that we talked about at lunch. He described what components it might include, such as who should be called on each floor of the building to assist in an emergency, creating a calling tree, evacuation plan, and the like. There were a number of things that I had not considered. He has developed a template from which we’ll develop our plan. Once that’s done he, will walk the building with us and go over the plan to look for gaps. I’m looking forward to working with him and thank him again for his past support.

At 2:00 p.m. I met with Professor Schneider and that was an enjoyable meeting as well. We talked about some very exciting plans she has for the LL.M. program and ways for us to integrate the program more thoroughly into the law school.

At 3:30 p.m. Teri Stafford and I had our weekly meeting. We were preparing for graduation and it’s very exciting in that we will, on the 60th anniversary of the year of his admission to law school, recognize Silas Hunt with a posthumous degree. We hoped that a member of his family would be able to be present to accept it. We were working really hard to make that happen. Getting ready for graduation is always an exciting time around the law school, and I was looking forward to Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the Fayetteville Town Center.

Claudia wasn’t there for Pilates this morning and my home phone was out all weekend because of the storm so I didn’t get her call cancelling our session. We were excited today about the arrival of Mercedes Caral. Mercedes is a partner in the Barcelona, Spain, office of the Jausas law firm. Much of her practice is devoted to international commercial arbitration. Professor Kelley met her and suggested her as an excellent choice to teach a class on International Commercial Arbitration. I stopped in her class to meet her, and warmly welcome her to Arkansas. We are so fortunate that she was able to come to Arkansas and share her expertise with our students during this intersession course. We look forward to a continuing relationship with her and appreciate her enriching contribution to our curriculum.

For lunch I met Dean Reed Greenwood. He’s been a good friend to me since I first arrived in Fayetteville, so it was great to spend time with him. His deanship encompasses a broader constituency than mine, in that his College includes Curriculum and Instruction(CIED), Education Reform (EDRE), Health Science, Kinesiology, Recreation and Dance (HKRD), Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders (RHRC), The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing (NURS), and The College of Education and Health Professions’ Honors Program. We visited about how to maintain balance in life and deal with difficult issues or people. We had a long conversation about that and he told me different ways that he’s handled things over the years. He’s a very good listener and has been a manager much longer than I have, as he served as Associate Dean and in other administrative roles before assuming the deanship. It is helpful to have a friend who shares his experiences and helps me think things through. I appreciate Reed for spending that time with me (and for picking up the tab for lunch). We ate at Ella’s and I had the sorority salad and he had the soup and salad combination. The sorority salad is pan seared romaine wedge topped with hazelnut-crusted chicken breast, herbed tomatoes and blood orange vinaigrette. Not my fave.

I had to dash out of lunch for a meeting at 1:00 p.m., which was followed by my favorite thing in the whole world (NOT), a visit to the dentist. Two weeks earlier I’d lost a filling and hadn’t been able to get to the dentist with all the various events and activities. My appointment was for 3:00 p.m. Once there, Dr. Henderson gave me the good news that there wasn’t much filling missing and the hole was very shallow. He said I wouldn’t need novocaine and it wouldn’t take long to fill. Dr. Walt Henderson, my dentist, is great. His specialty is people who have dentist issues like me – those who are chickens. He’s really smart and always makes me laugh. He follows Arkansas politics and the judicial races. We had a long conversation (as much as possible when you’re a dental patient) about the Arkansas races and the presidential race, although the conversatiWeidmanon sort of went like, “What do you think of the presidential race?,” and my response was “Wah, wah, wah, wah . . .” Truthfully, I don’t know how dentists understand one word their patients say, but he’s very good at interpreting. As much as I dislike going to the dentist in the abstract, I do like my dentist very much.

After that I had to dash back to the Hembree Alumni House for the reception for Greg and Rosie Weidemann. They were leaving us to go to the University of Connecticut. The reception was very emotional. A number of people spoke praising Greg’s deanship. They shared with us what a wonderful and warm couple he and Rozie are and spoke of their contributions not only to the University, but also to Northwest Arkansas. The Weidemanns have endowed a scholarship in the College of Agriculture and Mark Power announced that it will be renamed the Greg Weidemann Scholarship. It was a really good event and they received many warm wishes. They were presented a beautiful cobalt blue glass bowl on behalf of the college to take with them. It was meant to reflect the colors of the Connecticut flag, blue and white. They also received a very beautiful Tim Ernst print and the book in which the print was featured as well. It was apparent that tWeidman Giftshey had mixed emotions about leaving. We will all miss them and we wish them well. What a long, full day! And, since it had already been a long day, it made sense to stay late and work to catch up, right? So that evening I read through e-mails that had piled up, returned phone calls, and drafted letters. It was a good feeling to see the piles dwindle.

One of the things I did while working late on Monday evening was to get the pictures from the bar swearing in ceremony posted an album in my Facebook account. I also created albums for the staff appreciation event and courtyard progress. So, for those of you with Facebook accounts, take a look. Check it out.

Saturday began bright and early with picking up Dr. Terrence Roberts who is one of the Little Rock Nine. I’d met Dr. Roberts the night before when I escorted him to the Chancellor’s graduation dinner. He is a wonderful, warm, very kind man. Given his experience as one of the Little Rock Nine, it’s amazing how compassionate, forgiving, and forward-looking he is. One of the values he lives by is to go out, do good and heal the world. He certainly personifies that.

I picked him up at Carnall Hall where there was a waiting car. Dr. Alan Sugg and Mike Akin joined us on the ride to Bud Walton AreRoberts Fosterna, where we were escorted into the staging room for the Deans, Board of Trustees, Provost. We had breakfast and then we lined up and processed into the arena. During the all-campus University commencement held on Saturday morning, the graduate degrees (Masters and Ph.D.) are awarded except for those given by the School of Law. Each Dean also offers to the Provost the candidates for the remaining college specific degrees. These are awarded later at the various ceremonies. Our ceremony was on May 17, a week after the other commencement ceremonies.

After graduation, I escorted Dr. Roberts back to Carnall Hall. However, I had promised Professor Sharon Foster that as a reward for carrying our banner in the All-University Commencement, I would take her to lunch at Mama Dean’s. I asked Dr. Roberts if he would like to join us at Mama Dean’s, letting him know that it wasn’t very fancy but that good food and warm fellowship were guaranteed, and he was delighted to join us. So the three of us went down to Mama Dean’s. As you might imagine, he was quite a celebrity there. It was wonderful. It’s hard for me to really share with you all that it meant for me to have the honor of escorting him, and what itMama Deans meant to Mama Dean’s family to be able to meet him and engage him. As I think I mentioned he’s a very, nonassuming, regular person. He took time to talk to everybody who came over to greet him and tell him what a hero he was. It was a very powerful experience. We had a fantastic meal!

Sharon and I had the pork chops with macaroni and cheese and greens. She had cornbread and I had a roll. Dr. Roberts had the beef brisket with mashed potatoes, greens and corn. We spent a lot of time at Mama Dean’s because it started pouring down rain and hail. We sat there and visited, then we each had dessert. Sharon and I had banana pudding and he had peach cobbler. Dr. Roberts said it was such a good meal that it didn’t matter that he didn’t have plans for the rest of the day because there wasn’t much he could do after that anyway; we agreed. It was, I know I’ve said this, an amazing experience to sit with him, hear his stories and receive his wisdom and encouragement. I’m grateful to Chancellor White for allowing me that opportunity. It was a special moment that I’ll never forget. After we finished our lunch and the storm let up a little bit, we went in the kitchen at Mama Dean’s so that everyone could take pictures with Dr. Roberts. The whole day was magical. Thanks Sharon, for hanging out with us and for being a part of that very special day.

Afterwards, I went home and got a little rest before attending Dr. Collis Geren’s deck party. As it turned out, he lives way out on Hwy. 16 (at least way out to me) in Weddington Woods, and I didn’t see the turnoff. There was a big sign for a peony farm, so I didn’t notice the rock that had “Weddington Woods” carved on it. I went pretty far down the road, turned around, had to get more gas, then called and got more specific instructions. I still couldn’t find it! The way I got there was that I pulled into a little repair shop where two guys were working on lawnmowers and riding mowers and asked them where it was. One of the guys who was there to pick up his riding mower said, “Oh, I know where that is, my ex-wife lives on that very street, so just follow me and I’ll take you there.” So . . . I arrived at Dr. Geren’s house behind a huge truck pulling a riding mower, but nevertheless I was able to get there and enjoy the company of many members of the University community. Thanks very much to Dr. Colis Geren and wife, Lois, for a lovely evening.

The meal was catered by Elenita’s. There were also many desserts, but of course having eaten at Mama Dean’s earlier, I wasn’t very hungry. I ended up sitting and visiting with Dean Beene and her husband, Barry. Afterwards, I followed them out of Weddington Woods to make sure that I got a good start on my way home. I was looking forward to going home to rest.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. It was a quiet. I went to church with my mom and breakfast with the Breakfast Bunch. Later there was a bit of work to catch up and to begin preparing for graduation week. That evening, my mom and I then went to see “Forbidden Kingdom,” the martial arts film. Jet Li and Jackie Chan starred in the movie, a great combination. We had a great time and the day was a very relaxing one after a super busy week. Since we happen to be pretty avid martial arts film junkies, it was a wonderful and restful way (ironically) to spend a Mother’s Day weekend. I love you, Mom!

Friday morning started out on the road, in Russellville, at the Hampton Inn. Thursday had been a late night. So I decided to drive part of the way to Little Rock for the Friday morninggrenada Bar swearing-in ceremony for all those who passed the February Bar. I love to attend the swearing-in to give big hugs and congratulations to our alums who become members of the Arkansas Bar. I left the Hampton Inn at 7:00 a.m. because the ceremony started at 9:00 a.m. and the front desk clerk said, “Well, just to be safe in the traffic, you probably should leave two hours early.”

When I arrived at the court, I ran into Britt Johnson and Greneda Johnson and gave them big hugs and met their families before the ceremony started. The ceremony is an informal session for the Supreme Courswearing int of Arkansas. The Chief Justice recognized the President of the Arkansas Bar Association who is Rick Ramsay, our alum. Parents and families are also allowed to attend, so the room was very full as you might imagine. Chief Justice Hannah introduced the two law school Deans. He said, “From UALR, Chuck Goldner, and from Fayetteville, Associate Dean Jim Miller,” and everybody yelled, “Dean Nance is here!” It was kind of funny, and then he said, “Dean Nance, I didn’t see you over there!” and I said, “Well, that’s only because I was being quiet for a change,” and everybody laughed about that. Senators David Pryor and Mark Pryor were there as well. The new lawyers were sworn in, and afterwards there was a reception. I tried to visit with as many as I could, to get their pictures, and to let them know how we are proud of and happy for them.

After that I caught up with Judge Wendell Griffen, our alum. We had breakfast before I heagriffended back to Fayetteville. I visited with him about his campaign and how that was going. While we were having breakfast, I ran into Chip (our alum) and Cheryl Welch and they were very excited. They had just come from Babies “R” Us and are expecting their first grand baby (a little girl). Congratulations! It was great to see them. Before heading back, I had a conference call as a member of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services Development Committee. Then it was time to head back “up the hill.”

I arrived in Fayetteville just in time to catch the commissioning of the Army ROTC Lieutenant Second Lieutenants. As you know if you follow the blog, Lieutenant Colonel Clark Taylor is a very good friend and the law school has had the privilege of hosting tharmye Army ROTC commissioning in our courtroom. This is the second year we’ve done so and we are very proud to be able to do it. It is our privilege and pleasure to recognize these young people.

After the ceremony, I had ambassadorial duties. I had been invited by Chancellor White to be the escort for Dr. Terrence Roberts. Dr. Roberts is one of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who braved threats and intimidation to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957. He earned a BA in Sociology from California State University, a Masters of Social Work from UCLA in 1970, and a PhD in Psychology from Southern Illinois University in 197Roberts Nance6. Since 1993, Dr. Roberts has been a professor at Antioch College in Los Angeles, California where he teaches graduate courses in psychology. In addition to serving as the CEO of Terrence J. Roberts and Associates Management Consulting Firm, he maintains a private psychology practice and is a desegregation consultant with the Little Rock School District.

This was a very magical moment for me to be able to visit with him, and to be his escort. I really do believe that, were it not for the courage of the nine and their brave actions in trying to bring about change, many of the changes in our society would be much less likely, including my position as Dean. Terrence was a hRoberts Tysonero then and he is a hero to me now. Growing up in Chicago I can remember my parents talking about what happened at Central High, so to be able to spend quality time with him was just an amazing, amazing experience.

At dinner, I sat with Chancellor and Mary Lib White, along with President Alan Sugg, the President of the UA System, John Tyson, and of course Dr. Roberts. We had a lively conversation at our table, everything from politics to religion to the state of education in Arkansas. I have to say that I had not previously had a conversation of much length with President Sugg. I am glad I was seated next to him because we had a very warm and long conversation. I found him to be a delightful, thoughtful and very kind man and it was good to visit with him. We shared our feelings about issues of race and politics and the future of our country. Dr. Sugg, I really, really enjoyed that conversation and I want you to know that.

The menu was a mixed green salad with grilled pear, blue cheese and cider vinegar dressing followed by the main course, which was a grilled beef tenderloin with caramelized onions and béarnaise sauce. All this was accompanied by smashed red potatoes and sautéed green beans with pancetta and shallots. Dessert was fresh berry crepes.

The general UA graduation committee hosted a dinner for all the Deans, members of central administration, and the speakers for the various graduation ceremonies. Each commencement Dean introduces their guest (the commencement speaker), the Provost gives a few remarks, and the Chancellor gives a few remarks. Because Dr. Roberts was the recipient of an honorary doctorate of Arts and Letters from the University of Arkansas, he was invited to give a few remarks. His theme was on making a difference in the world regardless of where you started from and that you can help to heal the world. His comments were very powerful and moving.

After dinner, I escorted him back to Carnall Hall and asked if he would like a night cap. We stopped in Lambeth Lounge where my favorite bartender, Mr. Ryan Polite (although I call him Mr. Polite) is the host. He is a really great guy and makes everyone feel welcome. He came over and I told him who Dr. Roberts was. He was very courteous and made Dr. Roberts feel right at home and made him my favorite drink, a Mojito. I didn’t indulge as I had to drive back to my house, but we visited for a little while. Being able to spend time with Dr. Terrence Roberts is a time that I will never forget. He was so encouraging and helpful to me in thinking through some challenges of leadership. Besides who he is and his place in history, he is a wonderful person. I feel very, very blessed to have been able to spend quality time with him.

Wednesday I left early for Little Rock to have lunch with Bill Allen. He is a graduate of Washington University and a native of St. Louis who has since relocated to Little Rock after years in Illinois. Bill has been appointed to the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Owner of the Allen Law Firm PC based in Little Rock, he has held numerous leadership positions in both the Arkansas Bar Association and the American Bar Association, including finance chair of the ABA Board of Governors and special assistant to the ABA president. HJudges and Kelleye previously served as an assistant United States attorney in Chicago and was a member of the Clinton-Gore transition team for the Commercial Litigation Division of the United States Department of Justice. He was also named to the 2007 Mid-South Super Lawyers for business litigation. This is the second consecutive year that Bill has received this honor.

Professors Kelley and Judges and I met at his office and the three of us walked over to the Capital Hotel for a lovely lunch. For the foodies out there, Bill and I had a cobb salad, Professor Judges had a garden salad and Professor Kelley had a chicken Caesar salad. We visited with Bill about the Rule of Law initiative, ABA President Neukom’s interest in having law schools teach Rule of Law courses, and the world justice project. We also talked with Attorney Allen about some of the interesting initiatives we have going on at the law school and asked how we might play a role in the broader ABA programs. In other words, we are looking for symbiosis between what we were developing and the ABA programs as well as seeking general guidance on what direction we might take our program.

Our lunch was a long one during which Professors Kelley and Judges talked about their work in the Ukraine and the connections we’ve made. Professor Kelley invited Bill to the Ukraine to meet some of the people with whom we’ve worked and developed initiatives so that Bill could experience it for himself. We described the University’s focus on service learning and the Belize project. Professor Kelley mentioned the course he is developing for next Spring on the Rule of Law. The New Hampshire Bar is in the process of collecting rule of law resources online. The idea is to create a blog or a “web event” and to have a conversation around these issues online. They propose, for example, making available a celebrity or commentator at a specified time to answer questions live (not a webinar or video, but an interactive blog) available on Law Day with live interaction. Professor Kelley had looked at the site and made some suggestions for supplementing it. Former ABA Chair Gray is chairing the Rule of Law initiative and Bill will give him Professor Kelley’s coAtkinsonntact information. We were able to cover a number of issues pretty thoroughly over our meal. Afterwards Bill wanted to specifically discuss issues of diversity, the diversity of our law school, and the diversity initiatives of the ABA. He was very gracious with his time and the three of us appreciate him meeting with us and hosting us at lunch. We look forward to working with him more in the future.

After meeting with Attorney Allen, Professors Judges and Kelley headed back to Fayetteville, but I checked into the Holidecorday Inn Presidential because that night was the Pulaski County Bar Association annual dinner. Dean Richard Atkinson and Dean Chuck Goldner were both to be awarded the Pulaski County Bar Association Lawyer Citizen Award for all they’ve done to improve the two law schools and legal education in the State of Arkansas. Michael Hollomon, Richard’s life partner, was going to be there and I thought it was important to support both Chuck and Michael.

The dinner was held at the Governor’s Mansion and I had not been there since Jim Guy Tucker was Governor. Much renovation had been done since then, including a beautiful addition where the dinner was held.On the way from the car to the Governor’s Mansion, I ran into one of our alums Martin Kasten and his wife, Kathryn. As you might imagine a number of our alums were there as well.

The program began with a welcome by Hugh Finkelstein, President of the Pulaski County Bar Association and was followed by the invocation by Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber. It really started to storm during dinner, but inside, the fellowship and comradery was very warm. I’m glad that I was able to be there to see Richard and Chuck be recognized and to spend time with Michael. After the dinner, I returned to the Holiday Inn Presidential to get a good night’s sleep before returning to Fayetteville on Thursday, which was a full day.

Happy Birthday to Steve Sheppard! At 10:00 a.m., I met with Professor Snow who makes a wonderful contribution to the law school. It was good to be able to tell him so. At 10:30 a.m., I met with Monika Szakasits from the library. Stay tuned because we are putting together a way for you to access some of our historical materials, to get those all cataloged and available to you for research. You heard about it here first.

Afterwards I was able to break away for a lunch with Prof. Sheppard. That was fun. We went to a Thep Thai restaurant and caught up with what’s going on in each other’s lives. At 2:00 p.m., I met with Professor Judges and then took a quick walk around the building before my weekly meeting with Teri Stafford concerning development issues.

That was followed by a 4:30 p.m. meeting with the Executive Committee. I’m really grateful to them. I guess I’ll just take time out now to say, since we had a meeting and I’m blogging about it, that I very much appreciate their support over these two years. The Executive Committee has consisted of Professors Bailey, Judges, Schneider, Mullane and Foster. Professors Bailey and Foster are no longer serving on the Executive Committee and this was the first meeting that included Professor Matthews. They have been invaluable to me. Being the Dean is a big job and no one could do it alone. Certainly having the elected members of the Executive Committee always ready and standing by to provide guidance and support is a wonderful blessing to me. I thank them all for their great service.