Allan Parvey ’72 supported the Law Student Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) during the 2020 Big Give. This fund, created in April 2020, supports law students in need. Here's his story and why he gives back to Cumberland School of Law.
What compelled you to support Cumberland’s Law Student Emergency Assistance Fund during the 2020 Big Give?
I felt compelled to support Cumberland’s Law Student Emergency Assistance Fund during the 2020 Big Give having experienced my own financial struggles as a law student.
Tell us your personal Cumberland story and what lead you to choose Cumberland for your law degree.
I began law school at the University of Georgia in 1969 during the Vietnam War. I received my draft notice and chose to enlist in the Air Force to attend officer training school. The only available program at the time was pilot training for fighter pilots. When the Air Force realized I had allergies, they discharged me before I reported to duty. I was given a 4F rating. I applied to Cumberland as I had been interested in attending law school there as one of my choices when I applied to Georgia. I had to file a late application and called Dean Weeks, the dean of the law school at the time. He said they would consider my application at an admissions meeting the following Friday. I asked if it would help if I came to Birmingham while they held the meeting. He replied that I could come if I wished from Jacksonville, Florida, where I lived, but he could not make any guarantees. I chose to drive to Birmingham and sat outside the dean’s office while they considered applications. I sat all day outside his office until around 5 p.m. The dean emerged from the office saying that they would accept me on the condition that I sign an agreement to stay at Cumberland through graduation and not transfer out. I agreed. I never regretted that decision as I loved my Cumberland experience and education.
Tell us about a special moment while you were a student at Cumberland or about your favorite Cumberland tradition.
A special moment for me at Cumberland was my election to the law school representative to the Samford University SGA. I had never run for anything before, but some of my classmates convinced me to run to help end the law school’s required attendance every Wednesday at the Samford convocation in the Samford chapel. We prepared campaign cards for me to hand to students as they changed classes in the law school. To my great surprise, I won! I was able to lead the effort to convince Samford to allow law students to have their own convocation in the law school on Wednesdays with our own speakers with emphasis on the law.
Tell us what Cumberland School of Law has meant to you as an alumnus.
As an alumnus, I have been proud to acknowledge to others my degree from Cumberland School of Law as the law school is very well respected in the state of Florida. One of the first judges that I appeared in front of was a Cumberland graduate when the school was located in Lebanon, Tennessee. We have many judges and well-respected attorneys in Florida who are Cumberland graduates including former Governor and Congressman Charlie Crist.
What do you hope students who receive support through the Law Student Emergency Assistance Fund will remember as they continue their law studies and eventually become an alumnus like you?
I hope students remember the assistance the Big Give gave them to help take financial pressure off to enable them to concentrate on their studies. I knew how important that is having lost my father to Leukemia while I was in college and had to work my way through college and law school. As a freshman we were not supposed to work, but I had no choice. I had to work 20 hours per week doing maintenance in my apartment complex to pay for my rent. I did that for three years which made studying very difficult. I also used student loans to finance my tuition. Needless to say, I am very proud to be an alumnus of Cumberland School of law.