Jim Mulroy ’71
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Post-Graduate Information: J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law; M.B.A., University of Memphis
Current Residence: Memphis, TN
Current Profession: Managing Partner of the Memphis, Tennessee office of Jackson Lewis LLP
What was it like to attend Rhodes in the sixties and seventies, particularly during such a tumultuous historical period?
1967-1971 was a very interesting time to be in school. We all had the sense that it wasn’t the “good old days” anymore. The campus was engaged in both the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement – for the most part, I felt we were on the right side of history. The school closed down during the 1968 riots, and I remember seeing the smoke from burning buildings from my apartment. We were in the center of so many events that changed society that it is sometimes difficult to remember how different the world was. Of course, one has to remember how much better it is because of those changes.
Of course, I was still a normal student, and I very much enjoyed my time at Rhodes. I am a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and was very involved on campus. I look back on those years fondly, and enjoy seeing the positive direction in which Rhodes is heading.
Tell me about life right after graduation.
When I first started school, I knew I’d go to law school eventually. Then, I started getting involved with the Boys Clubs of Great Memphis, and an opportunity to work with a federal program in Tennessee Psychiatric came up. That program eventually evolved into Youth Villages here in town, which is amazing because it successfully transitioned from being a federal program to a private corporation. After a while, I completed law school as well. Today, I do a lot of pro bono work, which I attribute to my time working with Youth Villages.
Why did you decide to join the Alumni Board?
I wanted to work more directly with the College, so I thought it might be something fun to do, and a way I could get directly involved. And it has been. It’s been great.
What is the main focus of your work on the Alumni Board?
The main focus of the board itself is how to best keep alumni involved in the school. We talk about potential Homecoming events, as well as activities for Alumni. I’ve been very involved in the Institute on the Profession of Law at Rhodes. We bring people from outside the college to see what Rhodes has to offer, and to take some great classes as well. We want to do this in a unique way – these aren’t how-to-do-it courses, but more intriguing, liberal arts-centric courses.
Sounds very interesting! Would you mind naming some notable speakers?
Admiral Donald Guter, a retired Judge Advocate General for the U.S. Navy, who is now the president and dean of South Texas College of Law, spoke on Guantanamo Bay. I served as a trial attorney for the JAG Corps, so this was particularly interesting to me. We’ve had FBI agents come in and talk about the Penn State controversy. It’s been a very broad approach to continuing legal education, which has been great.
How has your relationship with Rhodes changed over the years?
I have a better understanding of what’s going on with the college. I’ve been involved in a lot of businesses over the years, and I think that the school is a wonderful organization. It’s well-run and the leadership is outstanding. That’s one of the things I come away with – confidence about what’s happening on campus, and confidence that Rhodes is being run effectively.