Tulane Law School provided a formative place for Hale Boggs and other class of 1937 members during a time of political upheaval in Louisiana and the nation, his daughter, veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, told a large crowd gathered to honor seven new Hall of Fame
inductees on April 25.
Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts speaks at the Tulane Law School celebration of Hall of Fame inductees, including Roberts’ father, the late Hale Boggs, and other sterling alumni. (Photo by Digital Roux Photography)
“They basically went to law school with the purpose of making government better,” Roberts said of a class that included Marian Mayer Berkett, the first woman attorney hired by a Louisiana law firm, and Ashton Phelps, later publisher of The Times-Picayune
Boggs and Berkett, who as law students helped form the People’s League, a grassroots organization dedicated to cleaning up state politics, were among the law school’s 2013 Hall of Fame honorees, and Roberts was accepting her father’s award.
Boggs, who rose to U.S. House Majority Leader in 1971, received his Tulane undergraduate degree in 1935. His wife, Lindy Boggs, a 1935 Newcomb College graduate, succeeded him in office after his plane disappeared over Alaska in 1972. She served until 1991 and died in 2013.
The 2014 Hall of Fame inductees include: law professor emerita Cynthia Ann Samuel (L ’72); former dean Paul Verkuil, now chair of the Administrative Conference of the United States; and Robert Acomb (BBA ’51, LLB ’53), a maritime law authority and former adjunct professor.
Vekuil announced that he and his wife, Judith Rodin, are funding a new endowment for law faculty research. Rodin is president of the Rockefeller Foundation and a former president of the University of Pennsylvania.
Posthumous honorees are Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Charles Erasmus Fenner (L 1855), who was president of the Board of Tulane; legendary law professor Mitchell Franklin; preeminent oil and gas lawyer John M. McCollam (L ’59), who taught at Tulane from 1963–1987; and Dorothy Dowling Wolbrette (NC ’42, LLB ’45), who was chief administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration.