A friendship beginning in a summer law class turned into a lifelong bond and resulted in a new scholarship at the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Their bond recently led Elliot H. Loden to establish the Judge Glen H. Davidson Scholarship Endowment with a gift of $100,000. The endowment recognizes their friendship while paying tribute to Davidson’s successful career as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi.
“Glen has done so much for the state of Mississippi and I want to honor all that he has accomplished,” Loden said. “It’s also a small token that I can give back to the great institution that allowed me to practice in three areas of law: as an IRS attorney, a large firm and now in a small partnership.”
The first stepping stone in Florida native Loden’s career as an attorney in estate and gift tax law began in 1963, when he enrolled in Robert J. Farley’s class at the University of Florida. Recently retired as UM law dean, Farley told his student about the classes his former school offered on the oil and gas industry and tax laws.
“I transferred to Ole Miss because of Dean Farley guiding me in that direction and took a summer course that year in which Glen Davidson was also enrolled,” said Loden, who earned his law degree in 1965 and now practices at the law offices of Loden & Conahan, LLLC in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“Glen lived down the hall in the dorm from me and we developed a friendship that we maintained throughout our time together in law school and well after we both began our careers. We just bonded and had a lot in common.”
After their graduation in 1965, they both moved to the West Coast and the two friends visited often. Loden began his career as an Internal Revenue Service estate tax attorney in Los Angeles, California, while Davidson was commissioned as a Judge Advocate Corps Captain at nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base.
A native of Pontotoc County, Mississippi, Davidson returned to practice law in his home state where he earned both an undergraduate degree in 1962 and a law degree in 1965 from Ole Miss. The former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, who was appointed to the bench in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan, said the scholarship endowment came as a complete surprise.
“When I learned of the gift I was humbled, surprised and grateful,” said Davidson of Tupelo, Mississippi. “The legal profession has been good to me and the genesis of it was at the Ole Miss Law School. The university means a lot to my family.
“My wife, Bonnie, got her masters degree in urban and regional planning from Ole Miss, and my younger sister and brother, both physicians, obtained their M.D. degrees the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Both of my parents held graduate degrees in education and library science from Ole Miss.”
This is not the first time Davidson has been honored with a scholarship endowment at his alma mater. When he took senior status of the Northern District in 2007, the attorneys of that district established the Glen H. Davidson Scholarship in Evidence Endowment.
“It’s been gratifying to have students who were awarded that scholarship appear in my courtroom,” he said.
This new scholarship endowment also marks the second time Loden has given back to the university; he established the UM Tax Lawyer’s Scholarship Endowment in 1998.
“I’m happy to be able to pay back the university,” he said, “and also to do this as a ‘thank you’ to Dean Farley who steered me there, making it possible for me to meet Glen and enjoy such a great friendship and my career. Ole Miss did so much for me, and I’m so happy to be able to give some of that back.
“I believe in luck,” he continued. “The harder you work, the more luck you have. Glen and I both had a number of opportunities — those stepping stones that we took advantage of — and have been very successful.”
The Judge Glen H. Davidson Law Scholarship Endowment accepts gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, mail a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the scholarship’s name in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or online at https://give.olemiss.edu.
To support the UM School of Law, contact Suzette Matthews, development officer, at 662-915-1122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mary Stanton Knight