Published on March 10, 2015  

On Monday March 9, the annual Rascal Day celebrations were held at Cumberland. Rascal Day honors the memory of Rascal, the only recipient of the Doctor of Canine Jurisprudence degree.  The annual event encourages students, faculty, staff, and friends of the law school to bring their dogs to campus for a parade and lunch.  Dogs may also sit in on classes throughout the day.

According to Cumberland tradition, Rascal was a mongrel pup who faithfully attended classes at the law school’s former home in  Lebanon, Tennessee, beginning in 1933, and in 1937 he was presented the rare degree of Doctor of Canine Jurisprudence. Rascal passed away in 1940 and was buried with much ceremony beneath the window where he attended classes.  When Cumberland moved to Birmingham in 1961, Rascal’s tombstone and a few spadefuls of dirt were brought to the Samford Campus, and again interred at Blackacre, on the west side of Robinson Hall.

During the Memorial Procession, approximately 50 dogs and their owners marched behind a saxophonist from the foot of Samford’s Centennial Walk to Robinson Hall. University President Dr. Andrew Westmoreland, his wife Dr. Jeanna Westmoreland and their two Corgis lead the parade.  Professor Belle Stoddard, dressed as Cruella De Vil, threw stuffed Dalmatians to bystanders during the parade.  After a brief eulogy delivered by Professor Howard Walthall, participants and their pets enjoyed a hotdog lunch and cake.    

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.