Patrick B. McGuigan
On a night filled with fondness and substantive reflections on legal controversies past and present – fittingly held at the Oklahoma History Center near the state Capitol – alumni and friends of Oklahoma City University gathered to honor U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, attorney Gilbert Squires and the firm of Williams, Box, Forshee & Bullard.
The School of Law awards and reunion gala on Saturday, November 1, combined praise for leaders of the city and state legal community with affectionate memories of times spent in legal class work and after-class revelry.
With the help of some of the institution's brightest and best current students, OCU President Robert Henry and Law Dean Valerie Couch rendered honors to the distinguished group.
Although a graduate of the Howard University Law School (where she was editor of the law review), Judge Miles-LaGrange recalled a full decade of her childhood spent in cello lessons from OCU faculty.
Chief judge in the U.S. system's Western District of Oklahoma, LaGrange rose to national leadership when the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist appointed her to the nation's International Judicial Relations Committee.
LaGrange told the crowd she was particularly honored to garner OCU's annual award named for the late Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Marian Opala. Miles-LaGrange cited OU President David Boren, who has written concerning Opala, “No judge in our history did more to educate Oklahomans about liberty and the rule of law.”
The African-American graduate of Vassar gave warm praise to her mother (93-year-old Mary, who was present for the event) and her late father, Charles.
The Miles were noted educators in the city who quietly counseled their daughter, during her high school years at Bishop McGuinness, after her election governor of Oklahoma Girls' State and a sponsor's startling decision not to send her to Girls Nation.
Justice Yvonne Kauger, who introduced Miles-LaGrange, expressed appreciation for the younger jurist's series of singular achievements, as the first black female U.S. Attorney and first black female district judge in the region. Kauger long served at the state's Highest Court with Justice Opala. He was for three decades a professor at OCU, becoming a legend in Oklahoma law, and writing a book called “In Faithful Service of the Law.”
Kauger regaled the crowd with stories of the “petticoat class” that entered OCU Law's night school in 1965. After years in which only one or two women had admitted annually, Kauger's incoming group included several young women. Four years later, Kauger was proud when “the top three men in the law school's graduating class were women.”
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb was named the Outstanding Young Alumnus of the OCU School of Law. He thanked OCU Professor Andrew Lester, a well-known Edmond attorney, for “mentorship and friendship” over many years. Lamb was, at the time of the banquet, anticipating the Tuesday, November 4 statewide election. With that in mind, he teased the crowd, who rose in applause as he took the stage, “I must say, all of you good to me.”
Lamb's father, Norman, was a long-serving state Senator whose years in elective office coincided with Miles-LaGrange's tenure in the upper chamber. The lieutenant governor said his father “always spoke highly of this lady.”
Gilbert Squires was named OCU Law's “distinguished alumnus” for 2014. Squires is a well-known international law specialist based in Miami Beach and Miramar, Florida. While pursuing business success in petroleum engineering and related fields, Squires in the 1990s garnered his legal credentials at OCU. He is a renowned arbitrator, and a mentor to law and business students around the world.
The downtown Oklahoma City firm of Williams, Box, Forshee and Bullard won the 2014 “Law Firm Mark of Distinction” for its role working in economic development and for guiding generations of lawyers and bright youngsters in other fields.
The OCU Law gala raised funds for the Dean's Pro Bono & Public Interest Fellowship Program. Attendees viewed several videos gathering comments from OCU professors, alumni and students who praised the various honorees.
You may contact Patrick B. McGuigan at the Oklahoma State Capitol: 405-601-3433