Stetson University

2005 Inductees

Stetson Law's Hall of Fame honors the dedication and contributions of alumni, faculty and friends.



Gardner W. Beckett Jr.

Gardner W. Beckett Jr. '57

Gardner Beckett was a celebrated civil rights attorney. During his legal career, he donated countless hours of legal representation through the American Civil Liberties Union and was recognized with the Nelson Poynter Award, Florida's highest award in civil liberties. He won three cases for the ACLU before the U.S. Supreme Court. Beckett served on the Stetson Law board of overseers and as an adjunct professor of law. In 1967, Beckett became president of the board of directors for the Stetson University Law Center Foundation, later known as the Dana Law Center Foundation. He was a member of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and the Pinellas County Committee of 100.

 

 

William J. Clapp

William J. Clapp

In the early 1950s, William J. Clapp played a pivotal role in convincing Stetson University trustees and President Ollie Edmunds that St. Petersburg/Gulfport would be an ideal place to relocate the College of Law. Clapp helped organize a community fundraising campaign in the area to help make the move financially possible for Stetson.

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E. Harris Drew

E. Harris Drew '23

Justice Drew served two decades as a member of the Florida Supreme Court, including two terms as chief justice. He was president of the Florida Bar and Stetson Lawyers Association and winner of Stetson's Ben C. Willard Award. Justice Drew served on the college's board of overseers and spearheaded construction projects at the law school.

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William R. Eleazer

William R. Eleazer

Professor William R. Eleazer served 25 years on the faculty of Stetson Law. During his tenure, he built Stetson's nationally recognized, number one ranked trial advocacy program. The William R. Eleazer courtroom, the nation's first elder friendly courtroom, was dedicated in his honor on Sept. 16.

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Mary Stewart Howarth-Hewitt

Mary Stewart Howarth-Hewitt '08

Mary Stewart Howarth-Hewitt was the first woman in Florida to attend law school and earn a law degree. She was admitted by the Florida Supreme Court to practice on June 20, 1908. She supported Stetson throughout her life and taught constitutional law at the school on a part-time basis.

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Robert E. Jagger

Robert E. Jagger '58

Robert E. Jagger, spent more than three decades as Public Defender for Pinellas-Pasco county. In 1963, Jagger, together with Stetson professor Paul Barnard and 6th Judicial Circuit Senior Judge John Bird, organized the state's first clinical legal education program at Stetson University College of Law.

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Walter Mann

Walter Mann

For more than 25 years, Walter Mann was a moving force in the development and progress of Stetson University College of Law. He gave generously of time and resources. He was an organizer of the College of Law Board of Overseers and served as its first president from February 1961 until February 1967. He was later elected treasurer of the board and served from 1969 until his death in August 1981.

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James T. Russell

James T. Russell '54

James T. Russell was elected to the Florida Legislature in 1958 and served for six years. He also served as a judge for several municipalities and as Gulfport City Attorney. In 1965, Russell became an assistant state attorney. In 1969, the governor appointed him state attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit, a position he held until January 1993. In the 1970s, Russell helped create a new prosecution clinic at the College of Law. Mr. Russell passed away on Jan. 2, 2006.

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Murray Sams Jr.

Murray Sams Jr. '49

During his career, Murray Sams Jr. was one of our nation's finest trial lawyers. He was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a board member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, president of the International Society of Barristers and the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education, and a member of numerous other legal organizations.

Over the years, Sams was a generous donor to Stetson, sharing his time, energy and talents to help launch numerous education programs. He served as a member of the College of Law Board of Overseers and the Charles A. Dana Law Foundation.

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Susan F. Schaeffer

Susan F. Schaeffer '71

Judge Susan Schaeffer graduated at the top of her 1971 class at Stetson. During her judicial career, she left an indelible imprint on the justice system in Florida as both a jurist and advocate for the trial court system. As chair of the Trial Court Budget Commission, she helped establish equitable funding of trial courts throughout Florida.

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Ruth Fleet Thurman
L-R: Professor Ruth Fleet Thurman, Dean Darby Dickerson

Ruth Fleet Thurman '63

Over three decades of students at Stetson Law have worked with and learned from Professor Ruth Fleet Thurman. Thurman, class of 1963, holds the distinction of the being the first female tenured professor at Stetson University College of Law and she was the only woman in her spring 1963 graduating class. Thurman was also the first female assistant state attorney in Florida's 6th Judicial Circuit.

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