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Tulane Law Hall of Fame to honor seven alumni March 24

January 27, 2017

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Tulane Law School Hall of Fame - 2017 Inductees

Tulane Law School celebrates seven exemplary leaders of the legal profession – including a quartet of distinguished judges spanning more than five decades of service - with induction into the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame for 2017.

The honorees are New Orleans attorney Roy C. Cheatwood (L ’74), a founding member of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz's Louisiana offices; the late Justice John A. Dixon (L ’47), chief of the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1980-90; the late Rufus C. Harris, who served as Tulane Law dean then Tulane University president; Judge William Pryor (L ’87) of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; retired Maj. Gen. William K. Suter (L ’62), former U.S. Supreme Court clerk; Judge Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux (L ’75), chief of Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal; and U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance (L ’78) of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The 2017 class will be honored at the Hall of Fame luncheon March 24, 11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. For more information, contact lawalumnirelations@tulane.edu.

Luncheon tickets are $60 per person, $500 per a sponsored table of 8 and can be purchased online or through the Office of Law Alumni Relations, 504-865-5909.

The Hall of Fame was created in 2012 with the support of an endowment gift by Lake Charles attorney Mike Veron (A&S ’72, L ’74) and his wife, Melinda. Honorees have included such historically influential figures as 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Minor Wisdom (L ’29) and U.S. Majority Leader Hale Boggs (A&S ’35, L ’37) along with local trailblazers including attorneys Marian Mayer Berkett (L ’39) and Rod West (L ’93, B ’05).

Hall of Fame selections are made by an alumni committee, in consultation with the dean, based on their distinguished professional achievements and enduring dedication to the mission and students of Tulane Law School.

Please register online for the Hall of Fame Luncheon at http://alumni.tulane.edu/hofregister.

Roy C. Cheatwood  
Roy C. Cheatwood (L ’74): Lawyer
Mr. Cheatwood, a founding member of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz's Louisiana offices, has a wide-ranging commercial litigation practice and previously was a senior partner at Jones Walker and a management committee member at Phelps Dunbar. He is considered one of the top lawyers in the United States on complex, high-stakes commercial matters. He is a decorated military veteran, having served as a 1st Lieutenant with the U.S. Army infantry in Vietnam. He frequently lectures on litigation practice, including depositions, evidence and trial tactics, and has assisted students in Tulane’s moot court program.

William H. Pryor  
William H. Pryor Jr. (L ’87): Judge, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Pryor, a judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2004, was nominated by President George W. Bush. Pryor also is in the last year of a term on the seven-member U.S. Sentencing Commission. At Tulane Law, he was editor in chief of the Tulane Law Review and continues to serve on its advisory board. He also founded Tulane’s student chapter of the Federalist Society and returns to campus to address the group. He clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom (L ’29) on the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans and has extended opportunities for Tulane students to clerk on the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit. He was Alabama’s Attorney General from 1997-2004, at the time the youngest attorney general in the country.  A member of the American Law Institute, he is a co-author of the 2016 volume The Law of Judicial Precedent.

William K. Suter  
William K. Suter (L ’62): Retired U.S. Army Major General and former Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court
General Suter, a retired major general, led the Army’s JAG Corps and then spent 22 years as the Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court. Suter attended Tulane Law while already in the military. His posts included commandant of the Judge Advocate General’s School and chief judge of the Army’s Court of Criminal Appeals. Volunteering for service in Vietnam, he earned a Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Medal. President George H.W. Bush nominated Suter as Supreme Court Clerk, and he ran that office, helping modernize court operations, from 1991 to 2013. He has served on the Tulane Law Review advisory board, and the journal in 2014 honored him as its inaugural Alumnus of the Year. Since retiring from the Supreme Court, he is now a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux
Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux (L ’75): Chief Judge, Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal
Judge Thibodeaux, chief judge of Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal, has been on the court since 1992. He practiced law in New York City before moving to Lake Charles. He was a leader in changing Louisiana’s method of selecting judges, which led to more African Americans in the judiciary. He has been president of The National Council of Chief Judges, chaired the Task Force on Judicial Independence and co-chaired the Louisiana Supreme Court Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. He received the National Bar Association’s Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Award for Judicial Excellence in 2010 and its Thurgood Marshall Award in 2009 for serving as an exemplary role model.

Sarah S. Vance
Sarah S. Vance (L ’78): Judge, U.S. District Court
Judge Vance, a U.S. District Court judge and former chief of the court in New Orleans, also chairs the seven-member Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which oversees complex litigation from across the United States. She graduated first in her Tulane Law class and was a partner at Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann when President Bill Clinton nominated her for the federal bench in 1994. A national leader in judicial education and law reform, she’s a member of American Law Institute Council. Vance also serves on the Tulane Law School Dean’s Advisory Board and the Tulane Law Review advisory board and has taught civil procedure and alternative dispute resolution as an adjunct faculty member.
Posthumous honorees  
John A. Dixon
John A. Dixon (L ’47): Chief Justice, Louisiana Supreme Court
Chief Justice Dixon served 19 years on the Louisiana Supreme Court, 10 of them as chief justice. A native Texan, he grew up in Shreveport and taught high school before enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was an infantry paratrooper and spent 21 months as a prisoner of war in Germany. After law school, he practiced in Shreveport and worked as an assistant District Attorney. His judicial career lasted from 1957, when he was elected to the District Court, until he retired from the Supreme Court in 1990. He also served on the Second Court of Appeal. Hailed as “a judge of supreme sympathy for the common man” and a fierce defender of civil rights and civil liberties, he received the American Civil Liberties Union’s Benjamin E. Smith award in 1991.
Rufus C. Harris  
Rufus C. Harris: President of Tulane University and Dean of Tulane Law School
Mr. Harris was dean of Tulane Law School from 1927 to 1937 and then president of Tulane University for 23 years, guiding its emergence as a modern research university. At the law school, he taught torts, championed civil law and helped revive the Tulane Law Review after a hiatus. An Army veteran of World War I and Yale Law School graduate, he came to Tulane after serving as Mercer University’s law dean. He returned to Mercer, his alma mater, in 1960 as Chancellor and led the university to integrate the campus and student body. He’s memorialized at Tulane Law with two annual recognitions for outstanding students: the Rufus C. Harris Award in Torts, established by the Class of 1942, and the Rufus C. Harris Law Review Award in Civil Law, which goes to author of the best article on civil law.



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