April 17, 2014
E. Ramon Arango (right) of Baton Rouge has documented his intention to leave a bequest to the Tulane Law School scholarship fund named for his late partner, Jimmy Taylor Rooks (L ’58).
Bradley Schwab (L ’13), an associate at Gieger, Laborde & Laperouse, received a Jimmy Rooks Scholarship to attend Tulane Law School.
Photo by Sally Asher
Jimmy Taylor Rooks’ legacy to Tulane Law School students started with an apartment complex. Now, it has developed into a major bequest destined to provide even more scholarships for students who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend Tulane.
When Rooks (L ’58), a Baton Rouge attorney, died in 2006, he left the school a partial interest in the complex. But the bequest proved to be a complicated asset. Rooks’ partner, E. Ramon Arango, offered to buy the university’s share, and in 2008 those proceeds started the Jimmy Taylor Rooks Scholarship Endowed Fund to assist law students.
But Arango, a former LSU political science professor, has made sure the impact will reverberate even more widely. He recently documented his intention to provide a bequest to the Rooks Scholarship fund, substantially increasing the number of Tulane students who will benefit.
“I decided that I would leave the major part of my estate to Tulane in Jimmy’s honor, for scholarships for young men and woman who are bright and needy,” Arango said. “I felt it was important to give others the chance at the kind of education he got.”
Rooks attended Tulane Law School on scholarship and was a member of the Tulane Law Review and Order of the Coif. He loved the arts, while at Tulane and during more than 40 decades in Baton Rouge.
“Jimmy entered intimately into the social and cultural life of New Orleans,” be it Carnival balls, art openings, great cuisine, music or Tulane football games, said Arango, a graduate of the University of Florida and Columbia University.
Later, Rooks served on the board of directors of the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, was president of the Baton Rouge Gallery and the LSU Chamber Music Society and assisted with the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. He also provided pro bono services to indigent clients from the Baton Rouge Bar Association and was a trustee of the Allison R. Kolb Foundation, which his law partner set up in 1965 to help college students.
Financial assistance provided through the law school’s donors and supporters helps guarantee that Tulane can recruit and retain a diverse group of the best and brightest students from around the world. This year, approximately 60 percent of students received scholarships.
New Orleans native Bradley Schwab (L ’13), now an associate at Gieger, Laborde & Laperouse, is the kind of student who was able to attend Tulane Law because of the Jimmy Rooks Scholarship.
“Tuition was a hurdle, and learning I was awarded the Rooks Scholarship really influenced my decision,” Schwab said.
He served on the Tulane Maritime Law Journal’s senior editorial board, was a research assistant and worked as a judicial extern at the Louisiana Supreme Court.
“I am grateful to Dr. Arango, and as a scholarship recipient, I definitely plan to pay it forward," he said.
Maggy Baccinelli is a communications specialist in the Tulane Office of Development Communications.