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February 20, 2001


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DALLAS (SMU) -- A judge on the state's highest court, an international businessman with an overseas fleet of shipping vessels and a Texas Railroad Commissioner are among the seven attorneys who will receive this year's Distinguished Law Alumni Award from Southern Methodist University' Dedman School of Law Friday, Feb. 24, at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas.

Each year the law school recognizes graduates who have distinguished themselves in their professional achievements, philanthropy, public service or by rendering outstanding service to SMU's Dedman School of Law.

Clark J. Matthews II ('61) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Corporate Service. Matthews is co-vice chairman of 7-Eleven Inc., headquartered in Dallas and the world's largest operator, franchiser and licenser of convenience stores. Organizations such as the Mexican-American Opportunity Foundation in Los Angeles, the Greater Dallas Chamber and the American Jewish Committee have honored Matthews for his contributions to minority business development and human rights. At SMU he has been active in the law school's capital campaign and a mentoring program for M.B.A. students. In addition, he has supported SMU libraries and athletic programs, in particular the Rolex Tennis Tournament.


Justice James A. Baker ('58) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service. Before assuming the bench of the Texas Supreme Court in 1995, Baker was a judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeals. Baker is a fellow in the Dallas and Texas Bar Foundations and has been honored by the American Board of Trial Advocates, Dallas Chapter, as an outstanding jurist. He is a member of the American Law Institute and served on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Bar Association.


Helmut Sohmen ('66) will receive the Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement. Sohmen is chairman and president of World-Wide Shipping Group Ltd., a service company for his family-owned private tanker and bulk carrier fleet. He has been a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. He has established and presided over foundations supporting economic research, education and bilateral relations. In addition to his master of law degree from SMU, Sohmen has advanced degrees from American and European universities. Sohmen raises scholarships for Chinese legal scholars to attend SMU's Dedman School of Law and recently was named the first international trustee of the university's Board of Trustees.

Tony Garza ('83) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Government Service. Garza serves on the three-member Texas Railroad Commission and was a former Texas Secretary of State, member of the state's Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities and a senior advisor to former Texas Gov. George W. Bush. In 1990 the Texas Jaycees honored him with the Outstanding Young Texan award and the Rio Grande Council Boy Scouts of America recognized him as a Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 1996. A native of Brownsville, Garza was the first Republican elected to a countywide office in South Texas.


Gordon R. Carpenter ('48) will receive the Charles O. Galvin Award for Service to SMU's Dedman School of Law. Carpenter is a trustee and former executive director of the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation in Dallas. He is a member of the Dallas and Texas Bar Associations and a life fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation. His civic service includes alumni outreach for SMU and the University of North Texas (UNT), formerly chairing the trust division of the Texas Bankers Association and the Metrocrest Medical Center Foundation, and sitting on the advisory board of the YMCA of the USA.



Hector A. Mairal ('63) will receive the Distinguished Global Alumni Award. He is a partner in one of the largest law firms in Latin America, Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal. In the 1990s Mairal was the lead attorney assisting the Argentine government in privatizing its telephone, gas and oil companies and is now helping that country to draft legislation to finance public works. Mairal is a professor of administrative law at the University of Buenos Aires and has been a visiting professor at SMU and Harvard University. For his work as chairman of the Anglo-Argentine Chamber of Commerce, he was made an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire and is a member of SMU's Dedman School of Law Executive Board, as well as a trustee for many Argentine educational institutions.


John R. Howie ('76) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice. A personal injury trial law specialist, Howie's firm is Howie & Sweeney, L.L.P. A former Navy pilot, Howie has been the lead counsel and steering committee chair in aviation multi-district litigation cases nationwide. He has chaired the Texas Trial Lawyers Association Products Liability Committee and the aviation sections of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the American Bar Association. In addition, Howie sits on the advisory board of the SMU Journal of Air Law and Commerce. He is a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers and a director of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Last year UNT honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award, and he is the recipient of the Merrill Hartman Award from the Legal Services of North Texas.

"The achievements of this year's recipients have made an impact in Texas and around the world," said John B. Attanasio, Dedman Law School dean and the William Hawley Atwell Professor of Constitutional Law. "We are proud that our alumni show the kind of prominence and respect that a law degree from SMU has worldwide."

The Dedman School of Law Distinguished Alumni Awards nominating committee includes chairman Albon O. Head Jr., partner with Jackson Walker LLP; Alan D. Feld, partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and a past award recipient; Sid Stahl, attorney, mediator and past recipient; Robert H.Thomas, partner with Strasburger & Price and past recipient; Donald A. Swanson, Jr., shareholder with Johnson Jordan Nipper & Monk; and Dawn Enoch Moore, attorney and president of Allegiance Title Company.

The SMU Distinguished Law Alumni Awards dinner is at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Grand Ballroom of the Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St. The dinner will be preceded by a reception at 7 p.m.