When Tulane Law School alumnus Timothy Francis and his wife Ashley were considering major donations of art to Tulane University, there was one piece in particular they envisioned for the Law School’s Weinmann Hall.
It is a painting of the late great jazz musician Lionel Hampton by renowned African American artist Frederick J. Brown. Francis had met Hampton as a child, and he fondly recalls a conversation between the two.
“When I was just 10 years old, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up,” Francis recalled. “I told him I wanted to be a lawyer. He replied, ‘When you get your law license you'll be my lawyer.’ After earning my Tulane Law degree and passing the bar, Lionel remained a man of his word. He hired me when I became a lawyer.”
“The Tulane Law School experience had a positive and dramatic impact on charting my career and shaping how I see the world.”
Today, Francis is a successful attorney with the New Orleans firm Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert, where he specializes in litigation, business transactions and government relations. He serves on the Board of Tulane, and with Ashley, who holds an MBA from Tulane, has donated generously to the university.
In addition to the Lionel Hampton portrait, the couple donated two other works to Tulane – a large sculpture by New Orleans-born artist John Scott called “Black Butterfly” and eight large woodcut prints by Scott.
“The Tulane Law School experience had a positive and dramatic impact on charting my career and shaping how I see the world,” Francis said. “In particular, it taught me that with a Tulane education everything is possible. As a result, I have had a rich life in politics, the arts and most important the law.”
Francis said it was his law school experience that inspired him and his wife to donate art as a way of showing their continued love of Tulane.
"I hope that more people will be inspired to give art to Tulane,” Francis said. “We want the student experience to be visually rich and inspiring outside of the classroom."