I am truly honored to serve as President of the University of Houston Law Center Alumni Association. I graduated from the Law Center in 1999 and have served on the Law Center Alumni Board for the last six years. I have a great affection for the Law Center and pledge to all students, faculty and alumni that I will dedicate my best efforts to advance the mission of the Alumni Association and the Law Center. My three years at the Law Center were both challenging and formative. I met life-long friends and learned how to practice law. My legal education from the Law Center has been a great benefit and blessing to myself and my family, and I feel like I am indebted to the Law Center for my career and success. My goal is to try and repay that debt through my service. I have a long way to go!
I want to thank Tom Hetherington for his service the last two years as President of the Alumni Association. Tom is a larger than life personality and has been a tireless and dedicated leader -- his shoes will be hard for me to fill. I have learned a great deal from Tom the last few years, and his attention to our young alumni and support for law student mentorship programs have been among some of his greater accomplishments during his term. I also want to extend thanks to Bill Jackson and Warren Harris, who have set great examples for me as former Presidents of the Law Center Alumni Association. Finally, I want to thank UHLC graduate Susan Bickley (’84) and her husband, Bob Scott, who chaired an outstanding “Havana Nights” Gala event this year that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Law Center.
The Alumni Association is very pleased to announce that the Honorable Reece Rondon (‘95) and his lovely wife Andria have agreed to chair the Law Center Gala for 2016! Reece and Andria have been ardent supporters of the Law Center over the years, and while it is still very early in the process, I am looking forward to enjoying the 40th Anniversary celebration of the Law Center Gala at their creative direction. We are all very lucky to have Reece and Andria as our Gala chairs in this very important year.
We will continue many of the great Law Center Alumni Association events in the next two years, with an emphasis on young alumni events and student mentorship programs, including breakfast events and giving programs tailored to our best and brightest. Tom Hetherington and Warren Harris have promised to continue their very popular wine event, which has brought out a record number of alumni over the last few years. We also hope to continue the previously successful tailgate event this year for a Cougar football game. We will also continue to organize and run the 100% Challenge, which brings together alumni and raises precious unrestricted funds for the Law Center that can be used to recruit faculty and law students. This last year over 100 firms, companies, and organizations participated in the challenge and 59 of those reached 100% participation! Over $300,000 was raised through the gifts of 1042 different alums in the Challenge these last years. Thanks to all of you who participated. Thanks also to the Law Center faculty who participated in the program, reached 100%, and raised almost $25,000! The campaign for this year is already underway, chaired by Jackie Moy (‘01), Jim Tillson (‘79) and Linda Glover (‘01). Please do everything you can to encourage your colleagues to participate in this vitally important program.
We are all very proud of our new Law Center Dean, Leonard M. Baynes, who has brought an optimism and enthusiasm to the Law Center that has been unprecedented. Dean Baynes has set the goals of the Law Center high, including elevating the discussions and studies of a potential new building for the Law Center. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Dean Baynes. Dean Baynes has stated many times, “Wherever there are Law Center alums, I will go.” As part of my goals for the Alumni Association, I pledge to make every effort to increase the reach of our Alumni Association. We need to facilitate and foster the participation of all alumni. We intend to intensify our inclusion of a diversity of alumni across different ages, ethnicities, geographies and practice areas. To implement this, I intend to establish a young alumni organization that enjoys the benefits of higher giving, an alumni chapter dedicated to minority issues and alumni chapters in other geographic regions, including the fostering of the Global Law Alumni Network (GLAN) that was initiated by Dean Zamora. If you practice in a foreign country or are interested in connecting with other alums that practice international law, please register for GLAN at https://www.law.uh.edu/alumni/global/.
It’s going to be an exciting year for our alumni. Be sure to check the Alumni Association calendar frequently.
Thank you for your support of the Law Center. I hope to see you at an alumni event soon!
Richard F. Whiteley ’99
UH Law Alumni Association President
Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani, LLP