Texas Leader Spotlight: Dudley Oldham B.A. ’63 and J.D. ’66 and Judy Oldham B.A. ’63
Texas Leader magazine, which profiles the life stories of UT donors and the motivations that animate their philanthropy, had a chance recently to speak with Law School supporter and Double Longhorn Dudley Oldham, Class of 1966, and his wife Judy, who received her B.A. from UT in 1963. Writer Jennifer Boan checked in with the Houston couple to learn about their history with the university and got the bottom of the core question: Why give back?
We’re pleased to share that conversation here, with additional thoughts Dudley and Judy recently shared about the special place Texas Law has in their hearts.
Jennifer Boan: What is your favorite UT memory?
The Oldhams: The relationships that we built at UT, relationships that still exist today, helped to shape us. The student organizations — like the Texas Orange Jackets, sororities and fraternities — the people we met in class and the professors, the wonderful professors, were our fondest memories. And of course, if it hadn’t been for UT and Plan II, we never would have met.
JB: How did UT prepare you for success?
TO: Our time at UT was one of growing up. UT taught us to balance work and school. Learning that balance has carried over into the rest of our lives. It also helped with relationship building skills.
JB: Why did you choose to give to UT through your retirement assets?
TO: State appropriations for higher education continue to decrease so UT depends more and more on donors to support its programs. After we graduated from UT, we wanted to stay connected to the Forty Acres. Over the years I was a member of the College of Liberal Arts and School of Law advisory councils, the Chancellor’s Council and the President’s Associates. Volunteering on the advisory boards allowed us to see where we could make a difference.
JB: What impact do you want your gift to make?
TO: While the amount that we give may not result in university announcements or buildings being named we know that our gifts—no matter the size— make a big difference to the programs and deans who receive it and to the students who are part of those programs.
Special memories of the Law School?
Dudley: We were married at the semester break of my second year of law school. I’d been working two jobs to put myself through school, but—
Judy: I got a job at the Defense Research Laboratory, then located next to the Law School, which allowed him to really focus on schoolwork.
Dudley: My grades improved! That permitted me to earn an associate offer from Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright) and I was able to create bonds of lasting friendships with my classmates.
Judy: The dean then, the legendary Dean Page Keaton, created a “law degree” for working spouses named the “PHT” (putting hubby through) and I’m a proud recipient! And our younger son, Mike, is also a UT Law graduate and practices in Houston with his firm, Reynolds Frizzell LLP. That’s just another thing that deepens our connection to the school.
Does the Law School have special meaning in your philanthropy?
TO: Texas Law has for many years earned its reputation as one one of the top law schools in the country. Our desire has been to help maintain that standard of excellence and also to create student scholarships to encourage the best and brightest to attend the school and to be able to do so without having to detract from their studies with outside jobs to obtain their law degree. We hope to encourage other graduates to share their philanthropy with the School of Law as a partial payback for the benefits we all derived from our experience.
You can read the original version of this article, and many more profiles of UT alumni, including Law School alumni, at Texas Leader’s online magazine.