Page 17 - Autobiography of a Law School
P. 17

PART I: THE

BEGINNING, 1933-1956

         Sometime in 1947, E. E. Oberholtzer, President of the
University of Houston, hired A.A. White, top-ranking Southern
Methodist University law graduate, Texas lawyer, and wartime
bureaucrat, to create a law school and serve as its first dean. The
new dean and a single faculty member began classes that fall for
sixty-six students in drafty campus barracks left over from World
War II.2 I registered as a student five years later, taught my first law
class in 1955, and retired in January, 2013. Sixty-five years after its
founding, the University of Houston Law Center employs more than
fifty full-time faculty members and serves some 900 undergraduate
law students and 100 graduate students annually. I have taught
perhaps two-thirds of the 10,000 or so graduates of the Law Center.

         Part I describes my memories of the people and my
interpretation of the events that shaped the institution in its first
decade, from 1947 to 1956.

         The College of Law, like the University of Houston, was
created to serve an upward-mobile student population that was

2 PATRICK J. NICHOLSON, IN TIME: ANECDOTAL HISTORY OF THE FIRST FIFTY YEAR
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON 277 (1978) (hereinafter NICHOLSON, IN TIME). The
number of students enrolled in the first year is not clear. In his 1957-58 report to
the University, Dean Newell Blakely sets the number at 66. A 1977 Law Center
publication indicates the first class contained the same number of students as the
first graduating class of 28, (University of Houston Law Center 50, A History 1947-
1997, p. 5).

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