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Record crowd honors new Hall of Fame members

April 26, 2015

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Current, former and future clerks helped Judge Edith Brown Clement (L ’73) of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals celebrate her induction into the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame March 27.

All photos by Digital Roux Photography 

The “most junior member” of Tulane’s law faculty welcomed a record number of alumni to the 2015 Hall of Fame luncheon March 27.

But he isn’t your typical new hire: the greetings came from Tulane University President Michael Fitts, a distinguished educator and former longtime law dean at the University of Pennsylvania, who’s now the Judge Rene H. Himel Professor of Law.

As a first-year university president, Fitts hasn’t yet been able to teach his inaugural course at Tulane Law. But he’s well-acquainted with two of the newest Hall of Fame inductees: Professor Jerry Mashaw (A&S ’62, L ’64) taught Fitts at Yale Law School 40 years ago, inspiring him to go into teaching. And businessman Darryl Berger (L ’72), a member of the committee that chose Fitts to succeed Scott Cowen, helped educate the new president about Tulane graduates’ love for the university and its city. 

“They’re part of the Tulane Hall of Fame. They’re part of my personal Hall of Fame,” Fitts told the packed house at a Marriott Convention Center ballroom.

Some 250 attendees honored the nine new Hall of Fame members. Also inducted were Judges Edith Brown Clement (L ’73) and W. Eugene Davis (L ’60) of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Professor Emeritus Hoffman Fuller (L ’56), who headed Tulane’s tax law program for almost 50 years; Entergy Executive Vice President Rod West (L ’93, B ’05); and attorney Phillip Wittmann (A&S ’56, L ’61), a complex commercial litigation specialist whose clients include Berger. Mashaw was unable to attend the luncheon but sent a letter of thanks. 

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Developer and honoree Darryl Berger (L ’72) and his wife, Louellen, enjoy inductees’ presentations.

Posthumous inductees were Dean William Ray Forrester, who led Tulane Law in 1952-63 and later was dean at Vanderbilt and Cornell law schools, and Chief Justice Edward White, the only Louisiana native to serve as U.S. Supreme Court chief. New Orleans attorney Bill Forrester (L ’68), who spent decades on Tulane Law’s adjunct faculty, accepted the award for his father. 

The honorees’ influence was evident across the ballroom. Many of the attendees recalled their classes with Fuller. Clement was accompanied by 15-plus current, former and future law clerks.

Davis, a federal judge since 1976, said Tulane “took an average student and gave me the tools to succeed.”

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Entergy Executive Vice President Rod West (L ’93) is joined by his wife, Madeline West (L ’97), and Dean David Meyer.

West said he gained an understanding in law school about making an impact on his community. “My classmates have been the center of everything I’ve accomplished,” he said. “They never allowed me to settle for mediocrity.” 

The Hall of Fame was created in 2012 with the support of an endowment gift by Mike Veron (A&S ’72, L ’74), founding partner of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and his wife, Melinda. Selections are made by an alumni committee, in consultation with the dean, based on the nominees’ distinguished professional achievements and enduring dedication to the mission and students of Tulane Law School. 

The 2015 honorees: 

Darryl D. Berger (L ’72): A New Orleans native who has been instrumental in the city’s revitalization as a real estate investor, developer and financier, Berger has led a host of transformative development projects for four decades through The Berger Company. His projects, which have reshaped the city’s skyline, include the redevelopment of Jax Brewery and The Shops at Canal Place. He chairs the Board of Tulane University and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

Edith Brown Clement (L ’73): A federal judge for almost 24 years, Clement was a longtime partner at Jones Walker when President H.W. Bush chose her for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1991. She had started a term as chief judge in 2001 when President George W. Bush nominated her to the appellate court. She belongs to the Maritime Law Association of the United States, the Federalist Society and Tulane Law School’s Inn of Court.

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Judge W. Eugene Davis (L ’60) of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals accepts his award.

W. Eugene Davis (L ’60): President Ronald Reagan nominated Davis to the appeals court in November 1983, and he was confirmed in two weeks. He previously had served seven years on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, nominated by President Gerald Ford. Earlier in his career, Davis practiced with Phelps Dunbar in New Orleans, then with Caffery, Duhé and Davis in New Iberia, Louisiana. In 2014, he received the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award.

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Professor Emeritus Hoffman Fuller (L ’56) shares a laugh with son John (right).

Hoffman Fuller (L ’56): While head of Tulane Law School’s tax program for almost 50 years, Fuller also chaired the Tulane Tax Institute, leading it to become the nation’s foremost gathering of tax lawyers. He joined the Tulane law faculty in 1960 after serving as a judge advocate officer in the U.S. Air Force. He also served as the law school’s associate dean for academic affairs in 1972-77. In 2004, a former student and other donors established the Hoffman F. Fuller Associate Professorship of Tax Law to honor him.

Jerry L. Mashaw Sr. (A&S ’62, L ’64): As Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Mashaw is widely considered one of the nation’s most influential scholars of administrative law, social welfare policy, regulation, legislation and the design of public institutions. He was a Tulane assistant law professor in 1966-68. He is a founding member and past president of the National Academy of Social Insurance and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served as a consultant to the governments of Peru, Argentina and the People’s Republic of China. 

Rod K. West (L ’93, B ’05): After growing up in New Orleans, West played football for Notre Dame University’s 1988 championship team coached by Lou Holtz. Now Entergy’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer, West oversaw the company’s efforts to restore New Orleans’ energy grid after Hurricane Katrina and has led ambitious corporate redesign initiatives, including the launch of Entergy Shared Services Company. He previously handled commercial litigation at Vial, Hamilton, Koch & Knox, and he made the closing arguments to persuade NFL owners to hold Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in 2013.

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Bill Forrester (L ’68), who accepted the award for his father, the late Dean William Ray Forrester, joins inductee Phillip Wittmann (L'61).

Phillip A. Wittmann (A&S ’56, L ’61): Practicing more than 50 years, Wittmann is an internationally recognized attorney who has represented some of the largest global corporations operating in Louisiana in complex commercial litigation. A member of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann, he is a past president of the New Orleans Bar Association, has chaired the Louisiana State Board of Legal Specialization and has been a member of the House of Delegates of both the American and Louisiana bar associations. 

William Ray Forrester: A constitutional law authority and early defender of civil rights, Forrester was a popular Tulane Law professor in 1941-49 and dean in 1952-63. He later was law dean at Vanderbilt (1949-52) and Cornell Law School (1963-73) and taught at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law in 1976-2001. He is remembered at Tulane annually through the Ray Forrester Award, which is given to the student with the highest grade in Constitutional Law I. 

Edward Douglass White: A U.S. Supreme Court justice for 27 years, White presided as chief in 1910-21. Born in Lafourche Parish, he studied law at the University of Louisiana (later Tulane) and under attorney Edward Bermudez (L 1852) and later served briefly on the Louisiana Supreme Court. White also was a state and then U.S. senator. In 1882, he was appointed to Tulane’s first Board of Administrators, where he was instrumental in solidifying the institution as a private university.

 
   


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