Found in the Shuffle: Photo of the McDowells and Dean Williams

Today’s featured photo shows, from left, Katherine F. McDowell, Prof. Charles R. McDowell, Dean Clayton E. Williams, and Charles McDowell, Jr.  The photo was taken on what appears to be the west end of Wilson Field in 1959.

This is a wonderful and previously undiscovered photo of three of the most important people in the history of the law school, and a renowned journalist who grew up in “the holler” below the Colonnade.  It was provided by George Anthou, 1960L.

Katherine McDowell was the wife of Charles, Sr. and mother to “Charley.”  To say that she was secretary to the law Deans is both accurate and wholly missing her significance.  “Mrs. Mac” was said, without irony, to have made the law school run.  In the days before assistant and associate deans, before offices such as student services and faculty services, she did all of this and much more.  The law school has a named scholarship in her honor.

Charley McDowell, along with Prof. Williams, Light,Johnson and Moreland, formed the Old Guard professors, so called for their devotion to, and longevity at W&L Law.  He was one of the most beloved professors and a master at teaching contracts.

The lanky “Skinny” Williams taught at W&L just short of half-a-century, beginning the year after the WWI armistice, and ending with his death just months before the first moon landing.  He was acting dean in 1944 and served as dean from 1946-1960.

Charley McDowell, Jr. was an alumnus of the college at W&L and as beloved as his father, no mean feat for top flight journalist.  Many recall his speech at the unveiling of his father’s portrait at W&L in 1999.  It was a vintage display of his humor and eloquence as he spoke about his parents, and about growing up on the W&L campus.

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