Walter Umphrey To Speak At Baylor Law Graduation May 3

April 24, 2003
News Photo 1313Walter Umphrey

by Alan Hunt

Beaumont attorney and major Baylor Law School benefactor Walter Umphrey will give the keynote address at Baylor Law School's commencement ceremonies scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, May 3, in Jones Concert Hall of the McCrary Music Building.

A 1965 Baylor law graduate and recipient of the 1999 Baylor Lawyer of the Year award, Umphrey was selected to speak by the graduating class of 61 students. Umphrey led the five-lawyer "Dream Team" that recovered an historic $17.6 billion settlement for the people of Texas from the tobacco industry in 1998. Umphrey and his wife, Sheila, made a $10 million gift towards the law school's highly successful and ongoing capital and endowment campaign. In recognition of their unprecedented commitment, the law school's new state-of-the-art home on the banks of the Brazos River was named the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

Umphrey's firm, the Provost*Umphrey Law Firm L.L.P., pioneered labor and personal injury law in Southeast Texas, where the world's petrochemical and refining industry was born. Using borrowed money, he and the late David Provost founded the firm in Port Arthur in 1969 with two others lawyers and a staff of five. Today, the Beaumont-based firm has more than 60 lawyers and a support staff of 225. Umphrey is managing partner of the organization, which has offices in Beaumont, Port Arthur, Houston, Austin, Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tenn.

Diplomas will be presented during the commencement program by Law Dean Brad Toben, The Gov. Bill and Vara Faye Daniel Professor of Law, assisted by Leah W. Jackson, professor of law and associate dean. Hooding the graduates will be Gerald R. Powell, The Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence, and William D. Underwood, The Leon Jaworski Professor of Practice and Procedure. The invocation will be given by Melissa A. Essary, professor of law.

After the ceremony, a reception for the graduates and their guests will be hosted by the Baylor Law Alumni Association on the riverside veranda of the law center's student lounge.

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