TU College of Law Honors Alumni at Law Gala

Monday, May 17, 2010

The University of Tulsa College of Law and the TU Law Alumni Association honored alumni and student achievements on May 8 at the annual Law Gala with awards given to Sharon J. Bell (J.D. ’85), the Honorable Charles S. Chapel (J.D. ’68), and Jessica V. Hunt (J.D. ’10).

The Honorable Charles S. ChapelSharon Bell received the W. Thomas Coffman Community Service Award, a surprise award that recognizes outstanding alumni contributions to the community. As trustee to the Chapman Charitable Trusts, Bell is involved with myriad philanthropic activities and also has served as a TU trustee since 1988. Recently, she led the creation of the Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair for the College of Law and helped jump-start renovations to John Rogers Hall. Bell was unable to attend the Gala, and her son, John Gray, accepted on her behalf.

The award is given in memory of Tom Coffman, a past president of the TU Law Alumni Association and cofounder of the Friends of TU Law program. His commitment to give back to the communities he belonged to was evident through his service to the law school, as well as every aspect of his personal and professional life.

The Lifetime Achievement in Law Award went to Judge Charles Chapel, who retired from the bench in February. After stepping down from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals where he served for 17 years, he returned as general counsel to Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison and Lewis, the firm he cofounded in 1972. He also served as an adjunct professor at the TU College of Law from 1977 to 1986. Lyn Entzeroth, TU professor of law, the first law clerk Chapel hired, offered a moving introduction of Judge Chapel.

Jessica Hunt received the R. Stephen Chandler Award for student excellence during the reception. The law school’s student body selected Hunt for the award based on her ability to inspire others through her leadership and character. Hunt served as president of TU’s Board of Advocates, is a member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Honors Fraternity and received an Oklahoma Bar Foundation Fellows scholarship.

More than 330 alumni and friends attended the event held at Southern Hills Country Club. The Law Gala this year featured a new format to provide an opportunity for the alumni association to welcome new graduates, who earlier that day participated in the hooding ceremony. A reception honoring the graduates was held at 6:30 p.m. for graduates, their families and all law alumni. The Law Gala dinner immediately followed the reception. For the first time, The TU College of Law this year sponsored the dinner and reception for all new graduates and alumni, rather than seeking outside sponsorship.

“The Law Gala is the premier alumni event of the year and traditionally occurs a week after hooding,” said Janet K. Levit, Dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair. “This year, in the Gala’s coinciding with the hooding ceremony, we were able to introduce our newest alumni to the alumni association and celebrate all of our alumni achievements – those of new graduates and distinguished alumni – as a TU College of Law community.”

To view the Facebook photo album for the event, CLICK HERE.

Jimmy Hart