​Al Rose, JD ’70

Loyalty Society member
​21 years loyal

​”This is what a great and inspiring college should look like.” That is what Al Rose, JD ’70, thought to himself as he drove up to Brookings Hall for the very first time. Raised and educated in the South, Rose came to Washington University School of Law feeling both amazed and a little daunted by his new environment. What he found here, however, was a supportive community of students and faculty who challenged him and introduced him to new perspectives.

WashULaw prepared Rose for a wide-ranging legal career that carried him from practicing military law in the U.S. Army’s JAG Corps to spending two decades in private practice at the St. Louis-area law firm Lewis Rice, where he concentrated in estate planning and family business law. A 20-year WashU donor, Rose gives back to his alma mater in appreciation for the fulfilling career his law school education helped foster and because he shares a special connection to WashU with family members, three of whom are also alumni.

Please share a bit about your life since graduating from Washington University School of Law.

After graduating from WashULaw in 1970, I spent a semester in the U.S. Army’s JAG Corps law program at the University of Virginia and then served as a lawyer in the JAG Corps for four years. I was stationed in California at Fort Ord, where I worked as a defense lawyer with an office in the stockade during the Vietnam War. From there, I spent a year in Korea, where I was a foreign claims commissioner—essentially, a judge—adjudicating claims against U.S. servicemen. My last station of duty was in Washington, D.C., at the Army Security Agency, which is part of the National Security Agency, where I was a deputy judge advocate.

After earning a Master of Laws in taxation from The George Washington University, I came back to St. Louis and worked for several law firms. I spent 20 years specializing in estate planning and family business law at Lewis Rice before retiring in 2018.

What inspired you to make your first gift to WashU?

I know it sounds like a cliché, but my time at WashULaw was really transformative. In hindsight, I now realize WashU was the first place where I felt truly intellectually challenged. I grew up in the South—in Mississippi—and WashU expanded my worldview and broadened my horizons. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and the School of Law opened my eyes to different ways of looking at ideas, concepts, principles, and philosophies. WashULaw enabled me to have a satisfying and rewarding legal career, and that motivated me to give back.

Another reason I continue to support WashU is because I am one of four family members who are alumni. My son, Micah Rose, AB ’96, JD ’03, is an undergraduate and law school alumnus. My daughter-in-law, Tonya Oliver Rose, JD ’05, earned a law degree from WashU, as well. And my late wife, Ellen Hyman Rose, MSW ’80, attended the Brown School.

Why do you think it is important for alumni to give to Washington University year after year?

While leading the development program at Lewis Rice, I often heard alumni say, “WashU has plenty of money. Why should I give to WashU when there are many worthy causes?” And I always encouraged them to reframe their perspective and consider how they benefited from WashU. Look at the quality of education you received and take into account how WashU helped you develop your career. I believe those are major reasons for annual giving to the university.

Are you involved with WashU in other ways? If so, how?

I was an adjunct instructor in the School of Law’s Master of Laws in taxation program for more than two decades. I have long been active in the Law Eliot Society and served as vice chair of the law school’s committee for many years. For several years, I participated in a mentoring program for minority students in the School of Law. The law school also runs an annual participation challenge campaign in which law firms compete against one another, and Lewis Rice frequently reached 100% participation.

Looking back on your time at WashU, what are some of your favorite memories?

I loved my three years at WashU. I was a member of the ROTC and on campus during a very activist period, so I remember a few protests. But beyond that, I had a pretty conventional law school experience. I came to law school expecting to be very intimidated. And to some extent, I was. But I found the faculty to be incredibly supportive of the academic success and career aspirations of all the law students. If you were a conscientious student, there really wasn’t anything the law school faculty would not do for you. I remember one of my professors, the late Frank Miller, missing a cocktail party at his home during my first year because he had stayed with me for hours to work through some law school problems. It always struck me how willing he was to sacrifice his time to help out a student. I have maintained relationships with several faculty members throughout the years.

What is your favorite spot on campus or in St. Louis?

When I first drove up to WashU, I was awed by Brookings Hall. I remember thinking to myself, this is what a great and inspiring college should look like. I loved the Gothic and Tudor architecture of the campus, and I thought the Law Library in January Hall [now the East Asian Studies Library] was just spectacular, especially its stained glass windows. To get away from the law school, I also spent a lot of time studying in Olin Library, and Krueger’s Bar was a great place to unwind.