Texas Law’s 2023 Alumni Weekend celebrations took place on April 14 & 15, bringing alumni from around the country and across the globe back to Austin to reconnect with old friends and relive great law school experiences.
The two days of nearly non-stop activity officially kicked off Friday night with the Law School Alumni Association’s annual Alumni Awards, a gala evening honoring the accomplishments of five extraordinary graduates. This year’s award winners—The Hon. Marilyn Aboussie ’74, The Hon. Ronald Kirk ’79, The Hon. Barry Smitherman ’84, and Sandra Gonzalez ’09—are incredible individuals whose achievements remind the community of what can be accomplished with a good heart, hard work, and a degree from Texas Law.
The fun continued early Saturday morning, with nearly 700 alumni and their families gathering at Townes Hall for a full day of events. Amid a sea of tailgaters on campus for the annual Orange and White Football Spring Game, Longhorn lawyers and their gathered in our corner of The Forty Acres for tours of the law school buildings, multiple panels on current events, a sneak preview of a new faculty book, visits with favorite professors, and a chance to hear from—and put questions to—the school’s new dean, Bobby Chesney.
There was even a chance to score CLE credit in a seminar led by Talmage Boston, who was also on hand as a chair of the class committee for the honored Class of 1978.
“The real highlight,” said Jackie Ammons Kelso ’13, “was reconnecting with former classmates and hearing about the incredible things they’re doing with their law degrees.”
As the morning’s events culminated in an all-alumni lunch, the building echoed with joy and laughter—kids lined up for face paintings and balloon animals while their parents enjoyed the photobooth and a swag-filled claw machine. The festivities continued into the afternoon, as the school overflowed with memories shared between generations of Lawhorns.
Saturday night featured 10 big parties, one each for the 10 honored classes with graduation years ending in “3” and “8”, from 1973 to 2018. Each class party was full of old friends and camaraderie.
“Reunion weekend… is always a time of great memories, feelings, and experiences. To put it into one word, our reunions are always magical,” said Boston ’78.
Just ahead of the parties was the highlight of the afternoon: Dean Chesney’s Leadership Donor’s Reception. Held at the Stephen F. Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel, honored class members who gave $1,000 or more to their class scholarships were invited to enjoy drinks and conversation.
“This year’s honored classes raised more money for Class Scholarships than has ever been raised before—well over half a million dollars,” said Lorraine Sarles ’09, Director of Alumni Development, Reunions. “At least five of the classes will have student scholarship recipient next school year, making a significant impact on our students’ lives.”
Together, the ten honored classes raised nearly $740,000 towards class scholarships. Three classes—1978, 1983, and 1988—raised more than $100,000 each. The Class of 1978 won the “triple crown,” leading the way in total donations with more than $165,000 given, in participation rate with 30 percent of class members donating, and in reunion attendance rate.
The Classes of 1973, 2003, 2008, 2013, and 2018 also reached or topped the 20-percent mark in participation.