6 months ago

UA law school named for Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. after $26.5M donation

As of Thursday, The University of Alabama School of Law will now be named the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law in recognition of a $26.5 million donation from the prominent business executive and attorney.

Culverhouse’s unprecedented commitment includes a $25 million gift – the largest in the University’s storied 187-year history. The gift will be funded over four years, with more than $11.5 million of the total donation already having been received. The donation also includes a $1.5 million gift Culverhouse made in 2017 to establish the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. Endowed Chair in Constitutional Law.

In a press release, the university noted that to “honor Culverhouse’s impact and generosity, the UA School of Law will now bear his name, becoming the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law at The University of Alabama.”

“This transformative gift by Hugh Culverhouse leaves an indelible mark on UA’s School of Law and will greatly impact our law students for generations to come,” University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell said. “We are particularly grateful for Hugh’s decision to fund this gift with an accelerated timetable. That certainly enhances the impact of the gift. We deeply appreciate Hugh’s ongoing commitment to The University of Alabama.”

Culverhouse, in a statement, praised the world-class law school and emphasized his passion for continuing its impact on generations of law students to come.

“The University of Alabama law school is one of the finest in the country,” Culverhouse said. “It is my hope this gift helps bright and talented young people pursuing a career in the law reach their full potential. Eliza and I are passionate about students and can think of no better investment than helping the students at the UA School of Law.”

Culverhouse continued, “Additionally, we hope our giving inspires others to support the University. There is no better investment than in the future of our young people.”

His gift will establish the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law Endowment for Excellence and “will enable the law school to develop innovative programming, expand its physical presence, increase scholarship support for students, provide additional educational and career opportunities for students and support a 21st century law library,” according to Dr. Mark E. Brandon, dean of the law school.

“I am ever grateful for Mr. Culverhouse’s friendship with the School of Law and grateful that he has seen fit to invest in our future,” Brandon added.

One of America’s leading public law schools and consistently ranked as one of the best values in legal education, the now-Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law at The University of Alabama offers a challenging curriculum with over 150 electives, several dual enrollment opportunities, Master of Laws degrees, and a J.S.D, according to the university. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 6.3:1, the law school “offers students a rigorous, hands-on learning experience, with strong student engagement in clinical programs, legal journals, moot court teams and trial advocacy.”

Known for his generous philanthropic efforts, including his longtime support of UA and his creative approach of issuing challenge gifts, Culverhouse has, along with his wife, Eliza, now cumulatively committed more than $35 million to UA over the past decade.

Starting in 2015, Culverhouse donated $250,000 to endow a women’s golf scholarship in honor of his mother, Joy McCann Culverhouse, who starred as a UA golfer in the early 1940s. In total, he and his wife have contributed approximately $2.25 million to endow women’s golf scholarships at the Capstone.

The Culverhouses, back in 2012, donated $1 million to UA to establish the Hugh F. and Eliza Culverhouse Scholarship to support high-achieving students with financial need. Since then, they have contributed an additional $5.3 million to the renowned UA Culverhouse College of Business, which is named after Culverhouse’s father, Hugh Culverhouse Sr.

Culverhouse also contributed $147,000 to Athletics in 2000 to fund an endowment named in honor of former football player Derrick Thomas for student scholarships.

A resident of Coral Gables, Florida, Culverhouse is the CEO and owner of Palmer Ranch Holdings – a planned community encompassing some 10,000 acres in Sarasota County. He is also the principal in Culverhouse Limited Partnerships with investents in real estate, securities and hedge funds.

Culverhouse earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida in 1971, an MBA in corporate finance from New York University in 1972 and a law degree from the University of Florida law school in 1974 – the same year he became a CPA in Florida. He began his legal career in 1975, serving as a trial attorney for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement and then as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the United States Department of Justice. He then served in private law practice in Florida from 1979 to 1999. Culverhouse has been admitted to practice in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, the 5th and 11th Circuit Courts and is a member of the Florida Bar.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 mins ago

Groups across US take in dogs, cats after Alabama tornado

People across the nation are helping to find homes for animals evacuated from shelters in an Alabama community that was devastated by a tornado.

The twister left 23 dead and dozens of people injured as it roared across the community of Beauregard on March 3.

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The Humane Society of the United States contacted several humane societies across the nation to ask for help, Al.com reported.

The Oregon Humane Society says it was asked by the national organization if it could take any of the 150 pets that were being evacuated from Lee County shelters.

In Tennessee, the Nashville Humane Association says it received 21 cats and dogs affected by the tornado. It said those animals will be up for adoption soon.

“They have been through a lot,” said Laura Charvarria , executive director of the Nashville Humane Association.

“One of the shelters, Southern Souls, the tornado touched down actually in their backyard, so they experienced that, on top of, they just went through a 6-hour drive from Alabama to Tennessee, so that is extremely stressful on the animals,” Charvarria said.

Many of the animals from Alabama were flown on a jet to Oregon about a week after the tornado.

Staffers from animal shelters in that region met the dogs and cats when they touched down.

“There was a great camaraderie among the group 7/8— a wonderful testament to the collective compassion in the Northwest.

As the plane touched down the group erupted in applause,” the Oregon Humane Society said in a news release.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Failed state House candidate wants to challenge gas tax in court

Former candidate for state House and Republican Executive Committee anti-tax resolution sponsor, Tom Fredricks, is preparing a legal challenge on the Rebuild Alabama Act based on the perceived unconstitutional nature of the Port of Mobile dredging.

When the Rebuild Alabama gas tax increase was being debated, for all of five days, opponents were throwing everything they could at the gas tax.

All of this was for naught as the bill passed both chambers of the legislature and was signed by the governor. Your gas tax will go up over the next three years.

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The state Republican Party Executive Committee went as far as opposing the gas tax with a resolution at their winter meeting. The committee rightly argued very few politicians ran on raising taxes. In fact, many opposed tax increases or ran on keeping taxes low.

Foes of the tax, yours truly included, felt the use of the special session was a nefarious work-around the legislative process.

Lastly, a small group of insurgents pushed the ingenious argument that the portion of the law spending millions of dollars every year on dredging for the Port of Mobile was unconstitutional.

And now, the opponents of this gas tax are moving on to the next level of the battle: the courts

Fredricks appeared Monday on “The Dale Jackson Show” on WVNN in Huntsville to lay out his legal strategy.

“It appears that it’s in direct violation of Amendment 354 … the constitution says that that money shall be used on the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges,” he outlined.

Fredricks has even launched a GoFundMe page to fund this endeavor after one lawyer told him he would need $25,000 to pursue this challenge.

But, former Senator Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), an anti-tax advocate, believes this is a non-starter after initially thinking there would be an issue in battling the tax increase.

Sanford posted his findings on Facebook.

Fredricks himself believes this is a long-shot, but stated that he believes the people of this state need to continue having a voice on this issue.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

Byrne: Supporting state and local government

Last week, I was honored to host some of our local mayors, city council members and city officials from Southwest Alabama in Washington to hear about what they do every day for our communities.

I am a firm believer that the best people to run our towns and our communities are not the bureaucrats in Washington or the federal government. The best people to do that are the people who live, work, and play in the same place as the neighbors they represent. That is why I come home to Southwest Alabama every weekend, to be in touch with the people I serve in Washington.

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Everyone wants a great quality of life. Part of that comes down to having good roads and bridges, having high-quality schools, knowing that the fire department, police, EMS and other first responders will be there when we call, and countless other things that happen on a local level.

The federal government is not the best place to regulate those things. Heavy-handed government mandates and rules that impose “we know best” policies on our local communities don’t work. What works in Robertsdale, Brewton or Chatom might not work in Nashville, Boston or Anchorage.

One of the things that has always worked best is to have a strong partnership between our local, state and federal officials. My mission has always been to assist our local leaders on projects when they need our help, but it is not my place to tell our local mayors how to do their job or what will be best for their community. I want to be a part of their team.

This teamwork approach has worked incredibly well when it comes to bringing new jobs to our area. When a prospective business is looking at locating in a new place, they want to know that officials at every level of government are willing to work with them to support their business and their employees.

A good example of this is saving our rural hospitals. In most places, these hospitals are the bedrock of a community. No major business will locate in a town that doesn’t have a hospital. So, that’s why I have been working with our local and state officials to do everything in my power to save our rural hospitals from closing. But, this requires a total team approach from all levels of government.

Another prime example of giving more power back to the local level is Alabama’s Red Snapper recreational fishing season.

In years past, the federal government has put stringent regulations on Gulf Coast fishing that has ended up hurting local fishermen. Those of us in Alabama best understand Alabama issues, and after years of continuous advocating, this year we received great news that the 2019 Red Snapper season for recreational fishermen will take place on three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) from June 1st through July 28th, including July 4th.

As I have said repeatedly, this issue is about more than just fishing. A full Red Snapper season helps boost our coastal economies due to everything from fuel sales to hotel and condo rentals. We must continue pushing for greater state control over our fisheries.

Fixing our Red Snapper season wasn’t done by just one person. From the city councils to the state Department of Conservation to the halls of Congress, it took a total team effort to make a positive impact for our residents.

As long as I have the honor of representing Alabama, I promise to always be a part of the team to make life better for people in our communities. I am dedicated to doing what is best for Alabama through policies that give back to, not take from, our communities.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.

Leaders deliver results for a stronger Alabama

Thank you to the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate for your bi-partisan support of the Rebuild Alabama Plan. Because of your leadership, this historical effort will result in safer roads, thousands of new jobs, and a stronger Alabama.  Finally, it’s time to #RebuildAL.

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6 hours ago

Shelby County seeking more workers

The county with Alabama’s lowest unemployment rate is in need of more workers.

WBRC-TV reports that employers in Shelby County just south of Birmingham are having trouble filling some jobs.

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The county of more than 210,000 people has the lowest jobless rate in the state at 3.2 percent, and “help wanted” signs are a frequent site outside some businesses.

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce says employers are constantly looking for qualified welders, forklift operators and information technology assistants.

The head of the chamber, Kirk Mancer, says the organization is working with schools and training partners on specific programs to help develop future workers.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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