Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2010-03-16

Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law will honor three Birmingham attorneys and one Florida attorney during its National Alumni Association reunion dinner on Friday, March 26.

Honorees are W. Lee Thuston, distinguished alumnus of the year; Marda W. Sydnor, volunteer of the year; Samuel H. Franklin, 2010 friend of the law school; and Mary Ann Etzler, young alumna of the year.

Thuston, a 1974 Cumberland graduate, is managing partner of Burr Forman, LLP, in Birmingham, and co-chair of the law school’s 2009-10 annual fund campaign. The distinguished alumnus honor annually recognizes a graduate who has excelled in the practice of law, community service and professional leadership.

Sydnor, a 1980 Cumberland graduate, is an attorney with Parsons, Lee & Juliano, PC, in Birmingham and co-chair of the 2009-10 annual fund campaign. A member of the 30-year class reunion committee, she has assisted in multiple facets of the law school program.

Franklin, founding partner of Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC, in Birmingham, will be cited for his dedicated support of the law school and its future through contributions and participation in events.

Etzler, a 1995 Cumberland graduate, will be the inaugural recipient of a new honor to recognize a graduate who received a law degree in the last 15 years. A senior associate with the Orlando, Fla., firm of deBeaubien, Knight, Simmons, Mantzaris & Neal, LLP, Etzler is president of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

The 7 p.m. reunion dinner at Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort is part of a series of reunion weekend activities for Cumberland alumni. Events include a law school advisory board meeting and tours of the law building and law library on Friday, March 26, and class reunions on Saturday, March 27.

For information and dinner reservations, call the Cumberland Alumni Office at 800-888-7248.

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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 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.