Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Writer: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172

Contact: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172, pharr@jd.lawsch.uga.edu


ATHENS, Ga. -- The University of Georgia Law School Alumni Association will present its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Scroll Award, to Jesse Groover Bowles, Jr. of Cuthbert and retiring law professor Walter Ray Phillips during the group's annual breakfast on Friday, June 16, held in conjunction with the Georgia State Bar meeting at the Savannah International Convention & Trade Center. The award is given each year to two individuals whose services to the legal profession and to the UGA School of Law are worthy of special recognition.

"The two individuals we are honoring possess impressive records of service, and their loyal affiliation with the University of Georgia spans many decades," said David Shipley, dean of the UGA law school. "Both recipients have left an indelible mark upon the law school they love in their own unique ways."

Bowles has served as an attorney in Cuthbert since March 1946, and his private practice has been interrupted only twice during that time: from 1951-53, he was house counsel for Callaway Mills Co. and from 1977-81, he served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Georgia. During many of his years in private practice, Bowles also served as president of the Randolph County Savings & Loan Association. He was a member of the committee that created the State Bar of Georgia in 1963 and, as a member of the association, has served on the board of governors and on the board of bar examiners. He was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1972.

Bowles, a native of Mitchell County, graduated from Camilla High School, Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, and the University of Georgia, which he attended on a football scholarship. At UGA, he served as fraternity president, president of the Interfraternity Council and was inducted into the Sphinx honorary society. He worked briefly at The Coca-Cola Co. before beginning his legal studies at UGA, where he served as chief justice of the honor court. He earned his law degree cum laude from UGA in 1946.

Bowles has been a devoted supporter of his alma mater for many years and in 1996, donated $215,000 to the UGA Pooled Income Fund, a gift to create the Bowles Law Scholarship Fund, honoring the ties of several members of the Bowles family to the University of Georgia.

Bowles has long been active in his community, serving as an ordained deacon in the First Baptist Church of Cuthbert and for 15 years as chairman of the Randolph County School Board. He received the Walter Cronkite Award for community service in 1995 from Chi Phi fraternity. He currently practices with his son (also a UGA law graduate) at the law firm of Bowles & Bowles, and his daughter and her family live in Athens. Bowles' six grandchildren all live in Georgia.

"Jesse Bowles is an outstanding and loyal alumnus who, with his wife Jane, continues to attend many of our law school events," said Shipley. "He is a superb lawyer, an excellent justice, a leader of the Bar, and a financial supporter who has graciously endowed scholarships to benefit students for years to come. He is a most fitting recipient of the Distinguished Service Scroll Award."

Walter Ray Phillips, retiring Herman E. Talmadge Professor of Law at the University of Georgia, taught at the UGA School of Law for 27 years. He was first hired to teach tax, civil procedure and bankruptcy, but for the last half of his career, taught banking, bankruptcy, corporate reorganization and legal ethics. Graduates honored him with the annual award for outstanding teaching of legal ethics a dozen times, seven of those in consecutive years.

Phillips served eight years as associate dean of the law school and in 1976, was acting dean. He served on many law school committees, including promotion and tenure, law library technology, and the dean search committee. He was the point man for the law school's switch from quarters to semesters. At the University level, he served on or chaired most of the major committees and many ad hoc committees. He directed the University's self-study in 1980 and was on the steering committee for the 1990 self-study.

In addition, Phillips is an active member of the Bar at the local, state and national levels. He has served as chair of the Consumer Bankruptcy Committee of the American Bar Association, chair of the Debtor and Creditors' Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, and on numerous business bankruptcy committees. He taught more than one hundred continuing legal education courses to judges and lawyers during his time at UGA.

Phillips, a native of Democrat, North Carolina, is an alumnus of four schools - UNC-Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt, Emory and Yale. He began his career as an attorney in West Palm Beach and then in Atlanta at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy. In 1961, he was appointed as bankruptcy judge for the northern district of Georgia -- at age 29, the youngest bankruptcy judge in the United States.

Phillips taught part-time as an adjunct professor from 1958-64, then entered full-time academia, teaching law at the University of North Dakota, Florida State, Texas Tech, and Baylor before accepting in 1971 a position as deputy director of the Commission on the Bankruptcy Laws of the United States. He joined the University of Georgia in 1973, where he remained until his retirement at the end of the 1999-2000 academic year. Phillips and his wife, Patricia, have been married 46 years and have two daughters and two grandchildren.

"Ray Phillips is a gentleman in every sense of the word -- a kind, thoughtful man who is also a master teacher and scholar, beloved and respected by students, faculty and staff alike," said Dean Shipley. "He has been one of the pillars of the law school for nearly three decades, and his active involvement on the University of Georgia campus has helped build bridges toward greater interdisciplinary cooperation."


Photographs of Jesse Bowles and Ray Phillips are available electronically via UGA Communications' Photographic Services Web Site at http://photo.alumni.uga.edu/photohome.htm

Once there, you may obtain a password, then search for them by name.