Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2005-04-15

BIRMINGHAM---Samford University's Cumberland School of Law recognized alumni, volunteers and friends of the school during Alumni Weekend events April 8 and 9. Two faculty members also received awards and a new Cumberland National Alumni Association leader was elected.

Robert K. Dawson, president of Dawson & Associates lobbying firm, Washington, D.C., was named 2005 Distinguished Alumnus. A 1971 Cumberland graduate, Dawson is a former deputy assistant secretary of the Army and was associate director of the Office of Management and Budget for the White House during the Reagan administration.

Cumberland alumni Michael V. Rasmussen, James H. Roberts, Jr., and Mark D. Pratt were named Volunteers of the Year. They were honored for their work as coaches for various trial teams at the law school.

Rasmussen, a 1976 graduate, is assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Alabama, Birmingham. Roberts, a 1994 graduate, is assistant public defender, Tuscaloosa County office. Pratt, a 1995 graduate, is an attorney in private practice with Burton & Associates, Birmingham.

Judge John C. Godbold and his wife, Betty, of Montgomery were named this year's Friends of the Law School. Judge Godbold holds senior status with the U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, and is former chief judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th and 11th Circuits. He is Leslie S. Wright Professor of Law at Cumberland. The couple was honored for their tireless devotion and support of the law school and its students.

Cumberland professors T. Brad Bishop and William G. Ross were named the first recipients of the Harvey S. Jackson Excellence in Teaching Award at the law school. Bishop, who teaches contracts, municipal court practice and procedure, was recognized for his quality teaching of first-year students. Ross, who teaches civil procedure, constitutional law, constitutional history and professional responsibility, was cited for his superior teaching of upper-level students.

The award was established this year by Cumberland alumni Edward R. Jackson and Richard E. Fikes in honor of Jasper attorney Harvey S. Jackson.

R. Larry Morris of Pensacola, Fla., was elected president of the Cumberland National Alumni Association. A 1977 Cumberland graduate, Morris succeeds James Anthony "Tony" McClain of Montgomery, also a 1977 graduate, in the leadership post.

Morris is an attorney with the Levin Papantonio law firm.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.