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The G. Robert Oliver Scholarship for Legal Studies at Clayton State University was established through an endowment by Freeman Mathis & Gary in conjunction with the Clayton State University Foundation in recognition of our colleague Bob Oliver. Beloved by his partners, co-workers, family, and friends, Bob Oliver was a nationally respected lawyer and was a giant in the Georgia legal community. The Oliver Scholarship honors Bob’s legacy of the importance of education, ethical conduct, servant leadership, and the central role of the rule of law in our country.
In addition to recognizing Bob’s legal career and his extensive civic activities, the Oliver Scholarship is a permanent memorial of the significant role Bob played in the development of Clayton State University. As a charter member of the Board of Trustees, he was among those who signed the charter in 1974, creating the then-Clayton State Junior College Foundation. In 1999 he was named chairman of the then-Clayton College & State University Foundation. He served as Trustee Emeritus until his death in 2016.
Bob was awarded an honorary doctorate from Clayton State in 2001. In the recognition ceremony, President Dr. Thomas K. Harden noted that, “Mr. Oliver exemplifies the ideals of public service, conscientious stewardship of public resources and private enterprise, as well as dedication to family and community.”
The endowment was announced in 2013 in a surprise ceremony of the Clayton State Foundation attended by large group of Bob’s friends, family and colleagues. Bob was lured to the meeting by the usual request that “we have a problem and need you to solve it.” The subterfuge was so complete that our beloved friend was visibly stunned and so moved he was (almost) completely speechless, no small accomplishment. At the ceremony, Leonard Moreland, president and CEO of Heritage Bank and chairman of the Clayton State University Foundation noted that “this scholarship being endowed will be but another lasting legacy of Bob and Joyce Oliver in this community. Bob’s firm, Freeman Mathis and Gary, is making all of this possible with the endowment. I would like to personally thank our fellow board member Jack Hancock, a partner with the firm, for everything he does for this university and continuing the tradition established by Bob.”
At Bob’s behest, Clayton State began offering a variety of options in legal education in 1990, beginning with paralegal courses as a part of its continuing education program. The University graduated its first students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies in 2011. The University offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies, a Paralegal Certificate, an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies, and a minor in Legal Studies. More than 150 students are enrolled annually in the program within Legal Studies.
Bob Oliver received his A.B. in 1953 and LL.B. in 1959 from Emory University. He served as deputy assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia, president of the Georgia Academy of Hospital Attorneys, president of the Clayton County Bar Association, chairman of the Code of Professional Responsibility Committee for the State Bar of Georgia, and chairman of the Code of Professional Responsibility Committee. He also served as chair, administrative board member and Church Council member at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in Morrow, Ga.
Bob Oliver was a valued member of the FMG family, a trusted advisor to our partners, and friend to everyone in our firm.