Salutes Governor Albert Brewer
Brewer may be Samford's best known teacher off campus. After
all, the former Alabama governor spent a good part of the
last half century working to make his state a better place
in which to live.
worked his way through the Alabama legislature to become lieutenant
governor in 1966. When Governor Lurleen Wallace died in office
in 1968, Brewer succeeded to the state's highest office.
School of Law professor was characterized recently as Alabama's
first "New South governor." Brewer worked hard to
bring progressive measures to the state during his three-year
tenure, including a revitalized (though unsuccessful) effort
to update Alabama's ancient constitution.
was named winner of Samford's 2001 George Macon Memorial Award
for outstanding performance as a teacher in February. He was
nominated for his "unwavering commitment to the highest
ideals of the legal profession: justice, compassion and the
importance of contributing to one's community."
decades removed from his service in public office, Brewer continues
his community contributions by teaching and working for constitutional
reform. In addition, he labors to support the Public Affairs Research
Council of Alabama [PARCA], which he helped establish as the state's
only independent research organization for public policy issues.
pushing for constitutional revision when he entered the Alabama
legislature in 1955. Like many, he felt the constitution-drafted
in 1901-concentrated power in the state legislature and made progressive
measures difficult to pass. As governor, Brewer initiated a revised
constitution, portions of which were implemented in 1973. But "the
best of the work is still on the shelf," Samford President
Thomas E. Corts noted last year.
Governor Brewer's heroic stand, it has generally been considered
political hara-kiri to take a stand for constitutional renewal,"
reform is back in the news again, thanks in part to Brewer and Corts.
They are among the leaders of an effort to rework the document,
which was drawn up by 19th-century politicians to keep power in
the hands of wealthy industrialists and plantation owners while
disfranchising blacks and poor whites. It still enables corporations
and large landowners to wield an inordinate amount of influence
in the legislature.
public office, Brewer practiced law in Montgomery and Decatur, his
hometown. In 1987, he joined the Samford faculty as Distinguished
Professor of Law and Government.
courses in professional responsibility and law office practice and
management, drawing on his experience in the practice of law, in
business and in all three branches of government. He also teaches
Alabama constitutional law and has co-written a textbook on the
subject with Cumberland professor Charles (Bo) Cole.
has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life,"
said Brewer. "The opportunity to interact with students is
refreshing because our students are so very bright and enthusiastic
about their schoolwork, about their careers and about our society."
It's easy to
spend time addressing the concerns of students, he says, because
"their energy and vitality will be such a positive influence
on our society."
A year after
coming to Samford, Brewer helped set up PARCA, which makes its independent
research available to local and state government offices and the
legislature. Brewer had seen the need for such an independent research
body during his days as governor. He served as PARCA president until
1996, when he became chairman of the board.
PARCA has earned
respect because of its mission to provide cold, hard facts on a
variety of issues. Its research is quoted frequently by editorial
writers and journalists around Alabama and beyond.