Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Hatton William Sumners 
Doctor of Laws  1938
Status: conferred

Hatton William Sumners is recognized as one of Texas' most influential politicians during his time. Though he lacked money for a formal education, Sumners followed his passion for law and took it upon himself to study under the Dallas district attorney. After passing the bar exam, Sumners began a quest to close gambling operations in order to clean up Dallas. Sumners proved his strength and persistence though many opposed his efforts to close gambling. During his second term in office, Sumners drafted a bill making the running of a public gambling house a felony in Texas.

Sumners garnered the respect of the United States government during the early twentieth century. He worked closely with Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Taft, and their work resulted in the passage of a bill amending the judicial code, known as the "Judges Bill." President Franklin Roosevelt also asked Sumners to draft a constitution for the Philippine Islands; and in so doing, he secured the reputation as an authority on constitutional law. Sumners is primarily responsible for bringing the Federal Reserve Bank to Dallas. In recognition of his devotion to Texas and his commitment to the United States Congress, SMU was honored to confer upon Hatton William Sumners the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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