Happy 20th birthday, Umphrey Law Center!
It was a transformative new facility along the Brazos River, raising a program to new heights and expanding the Baylor campus further along the water. We’re talking, of course, about the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center, which remains one of the nation’s top law school facilities as it celebrates its 20th birthday this year.
Twenty years ago this week — Aug. 27, 2001, to be exact — the Umphrey Law Center welcomed students to class for the first time. It was truly a landmark facility for Baylor Law School, moving them from Morrison Constitution Hall to the Brazos riverside. The 128,000-square foot facility dramatically enhanced the Law School’s physical footprint, and poised the school for further growth in the two decades to come. That was exactly what Law School leaders and donors like Walter (JD ’65) and Sheila Umphrey — who made a $10 million lead gift — hoped when it was built.
In the years since, Baylor Law students have boasted the top bar passage rate in Texas more times than every other law school in the state combined. Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program has consistently ranked among the best in the nation (most recently ranked No. 2 overall), and the school has built a reputation for service that extends the Baylor mission even further than the excellence of their graduates alone.
While all of that speaks to more than just a building, there’s no doubt that the Umphrey Law Center has helped the school better attract the right students, grow new programs, welcome the community for a variety of service-related programs, and live out its mission.
Sic ’em, Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center!