Jefferson County to Benefit From Fellowships Established by Altheimer Charitable Foundation

The Ben J. Altheimer Charitable Foundation Inc. has established the Ben J. Altheimer Public Service Fellowships to promote and provide experiential opportunities for U of A School of Law students with public service interest. The gift will allow law students to have a lasting impact on the access to justice issues in the Delta region.

The $74,500 award will support a three-year Post J.D. Fellow in Jefferson County and 10 Public Service Fellowships — one Public Service Fellowship in Jefferson County each summer for the next 10 years. At least one of these fellowships will be performed with an organization in the city of Altheimer.

As part of the law school's broader effort to fulfill the university's land-grant mission, former law school Dean Margaret Sova McCabe created the Summer Public Service Fellowship Program in 2019 to encourage first- and second-year law students with an interest in, and demonstrated commitment to, public service. To date, 28 students have been awarded fellowships and have contributed their expertise to government, non-governmental and nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Arizona, California, neighboring states, the Arkansas Delta and throughout Arkansas, while gaining professional experience. Another 10 students have received fellowships in 2022 and will commence work this summer.

The law school seeks to rapidly build a robust public service program that creates innovative capstone experiences, allowing students to make meaningful, interdisciplinary contributions to Arkansas, nationally and internationally. Stacy Leeds, dean emeritus and former professor of law, began this work by appointing a faculty director of pro bono and community service. Cyndi Nance, dean emeritus and the Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law, served as the inaugural director; Annie Smith, associate professor of law, now directs the program, which has been renamed public service and pro bono to better reflect changes in the program's direction.

The fellowships, created to benefit the Delta region, recognize the contributions and commitment of Ben J. Altheimer to public service, his commitment to Jefferson County and excellence in the legal profession.

Altheimer, a successful attorney, was born in Pine Bluff, where he practiced law before moving to Chicago and establishing one of that city's most prestigious law firms there in 1910. He frequently returned to Arkansas, where he had acquired farmland near Altheimer. The town was named for his father and uncle, who donated land to the railroad for the establishment of a depot. He established the Ben J. Altheimer Foundation before his death in 1946 to benefit 35 programs in Arkansas, including several within the U of A System. Altheimer was the single trustee of the Ben J. Altheimer Foundation until his death, when five trustees designated by him assumed the responsibility for its continuation. It remained existent over 50 years and was succeeded by the Ben J. Altheimer Charitable Foundation in 1995.

Since 1946, the Ben J. Altheimer Charitable Foundation, as did its predecessor, has donated millions of dollars to charities and programs across Arkansas, mostly to benefit agriculture in Jefferson County — with particular emphasis on the city of Altheimer — and the law.

The Ben J. Altheimer Charitable Foundation Inc. and its predecessor are longtime supporters of the U of A System and its institutions. It has previously supported the U of A Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, as well as other schools of the U of A System.

"In keeping with our status as a land-grant institution, the law school is excited to use this donation to help provide access to legal services for underserved Arkansans," said Alena Allen, interim dean of the School of Law.

About the School of Law: The law school offers a competitive J.D. as well as an advanced LL.M. program, which are taught by nationally recognized faculty. The school offers unique opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work, externships, live client clinics, competitions, and food and agriculture initiatives. The school strives to identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity, and the impact(s) they have on students, faculty, and staff members in an effort to achieve a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. From admitting the Six Pioneers who were the first African American students to attend law school in the South without a court order to graduating governors, judges, prosecutors, and faculty who went on to become President of the United States and Secretary of State, the law school has a rich history and culture. Follows us at @uarklaw.



Yusra Sultana, director of communications
School of Law


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