Throughout his career as a lawyer, Huntington Odom had many successes. He was a partner at a Baton Rouge law firm, served as treasurer for the Louisiana State Law Institute, and was formative in shaping the state’s last constitutional revisions to benefit LSU.
With every success, he reflected on the importance of his LSU education. “He felt a deep obligation to the university and the law school,” Pat Odom said of her late husband. “If he said once, he said a million times, ‘All the success I’ve had, I owe to the university, the education I got there, and to the law school.’”
Huntington showed his lifelong appreciation for the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center by creating the James Huntington Odom and Patricia Kleinpeter Odom Professorship through a bequest in his will.
“They thought so much of the professors, at that time, and had such a regard for them,” Pat shared. “He valued the very good teachers that he had, and he wanted to make sure the law school had the money to hire the best in the country.”
Pat explained that there is a great need for philanthropy at LSU because donors provide funds the state cannot. “We need to support the university,” she said. “They need the money.”
Just as the endowed professorship will carry Huntington’s name for generations, generations of his family carry on his name—and legacy. James Huntington “Hunter” Odom III is currently in his first year at the law center.
Huntington’s grandson first pursued his medical degree, but after completing the master’s program at Mississippi College, returned to Baton Rouge to continue the family’s legal heritage. “I’ve always hoped to go to law school at some point or another,” Hunter said. “This is what my great-grandfather did. This is what my grandfather did.”
Hunter’s great-grandfather, John Fred Odom, was a local lawyer, a judge and the district attorney in the inquisition of Gov. Huey P. Long’s assassination. The lineage goes further still with his great-great-grandfather, Rep. James Manley Odom, who served in the state legislature. Hunter shared that he feels a sense of responsibility with his family history. “One of the things I’m most proud of is my name,” he said, adding, “Being here at LSU Law School is an honor and a dream come true. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
Published in Cornerstone Winter and Spring 2015.