Leaving a Legacy at Every Turn
He was innovative and ambitious--prepared to develop a heritage of fully-equipped law students. After practicing law for 35 years, Matt Dawson knew that the majority of trials were won based upon the trialsmanship of the lawyers, not the merits of the case. So he committed himself to prepare students to leave Baylor Law School ready to practice law...and win the cases set before them.
Matt knew his way around the courtroom and was ready to bring the heat to Baylor Law. He introduced the revolutionary concept of a mini-trial in the 1970s that strengthened law programs nationwide and is credited with developing Baylor's modern Practice Court, an award-winning and nationally acclaimed program. Known as "Mad Dog" for his fervent passion and fighting spirit, Matt held high expectations for his students and forced the gavel to bring justice in court. With a bite more fierce than his bark, Matt Dawson left an enduring mark on Baylor Law.
"Matt Dawson had everything to do with whatever level of success I have achieved," commented Dary Stone (JD '77), 2009-2011 chairman of the Baylor University Board of Regents. "He taught me how to prepare, how to communicate, and he taught me how to win. He influenced me more than any professor I ever had."
And the story just keeps getting better. Matt Dawson and his wife, Princess, were not satisfied with only devoting time and energy to the betterment of the Law School. They took their investment in Baylor students to the next level by establishing four endowed scholarship funds that will open the doors of Baylor University for future generations of students.
As a genuine person, an ethical lawyer, a professor who expected excellence and a generous supporter of Baylor, Matt Dawson stands as an inspiration for law students of the past and of the future. And now, the "Mad Dog" spirit will carry on in yet another way.
A group of former students, alumni and friends of Professor Dawson were determined to honor Matt and ensure the Law School's ability to maintain a Trial Advocacy professor of his caliber, thus they established a professorship in his name.
"As a group, we have taken the mantle to establish the R. Matt Dawson Endowed Professorship in Trial Practice because of the lasting impression he has had on the Baylor Law School," said Bill Kirkman (JD '78), attorney with Bourland and Kirkman. "He would work with us from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., though he still had a law practice to run and classes to teach. He was a master with words but also was an example to us. We're all practicing law today because of what we saw in Matt Dawson."
The professorship upholds the tradition of giving that is normative for Matt Dawson and provides another assurance that the best will be at Baylor Law.
Extraordinary Stories are unfolding at Baylor
Just like Matt Dawson, you can leave your mark on Baylor University. Baylor graduates are changing the world. And every gift, no matter the size, helps them get there. Make your gift today.