Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez

Rogers Endowed Chair Brings Former U.S. Attorney General to Belmont Law

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What is an endowed chair? It’s an opportunity to draw world-class faculty who are experts in their field, providing support in perpetuity for their position. It’s also a chance to pay tribute to the person whose name it bears and a prestigious honor to the professor who occupies it.

At Belmont, a great example of the importance—and impact—of an endowed faculty position can be seen within the College of Law. During the program’s first year, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales was named the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law, making Judge Gonzales the only former U.S. Attorney General teaching full time in legal education. Gonzales brought to Belmont insights gained while serving as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and Counsel to the President, and from those experiences he continues to provide immeasurable resources for Belmont students and faculty while also attracting frequent media attention as a legal expert for national broadcasts.

This endowed chair position also serves as a tribute to another great attorney, one Belmont Law students can count as a tremendous role model for their future careers. The Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law is named in honor of an attorney whose career reflects accomplishments to which all lawyers aspire. A graduate of the University of Florida and its Levin College of Law, the late Doyle Rogers was the senior shareholder in the prominent law firm of Alley, Maass, Rogers & Lindsay, P.A., one of the oldest firms in Palm Beach, Florida. He practiced successfully as a lawyer in South Florida for 59 years and established himself as an expert in the areas of real estate transactions, estate planning, probate, estate administration and business/corporate law. His dedication to the legal profession was honorable, unwavering and exceptional. He held the top (AV) rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the preeminent rating organization for lawyers and held many distinguished leadership positions in a variety of civic, social, political, business, community and philanthropic organizations.

When Gonzales’ appointment was announced, Mrs. Barbara Massey Rogers, wife of Doyle Rogers, said of her husband, “I thought it fitting and most appropriate to recognize a man of his stature and accomplishments in the legal profession at the opening of the new law school at Belmont University, a university very close to my heart. The Belmont University College of Law will make its mark on the future law students who attend just as Doyle has made his mark in the legal profession in South Florida. The fine role model that he has provided in the legal profession serves to inspire other lawyers, both new and experienced, by his example. The designation of this chair named for Doyle is an honor he truly deserves.”

Gonzales, who still holds the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law position, was promoted in 2014 to dean of Belmont Law. Under his leadership, Belmont Law recently boasted a 94 percent bar pass rate, the highest in the state, and an 87.5 percent employment rate for recent graduates. In addition, the school was recently granted full approval by the American Bar Association, achieving accreditation in the earliest possible time frame.

After attending the United States Air Force Academy, Alberto Gonzales graduated from Rice University (B.A.) and Harvard University (J.D.). Gonzales was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate as the 80th Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2005 and served in that capacity until September 2007. Previously, he served as a partner at a major Houston law firm (Vinson & Elkins) and held positions as Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, Secretary of State (Texas) and Counsel to the President of the United States (2001-2005) in addition to his consulting and mediation practice.

Among his many professional associations, Gonzales has served as a member of the American Law Institute, the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law.  For his many accomplishments and years of public service, Gonzales has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University and received the Harvard Law School Association Award as well as the Central Intelligence Agency’s Director’s Award and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. His work in the Hispanic community and his achievements as a role model have also earned him recognition as Hispanic American of the Year by HISPANIC Magazine and one of The 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America by TIME Magazine.