Walking away from the interview room at Dalhousie on a fateful day in February 1967, Clifford Hood (LLB’70) had resigned himself to the fact that he didn’t meet the academic requirements to enrol at the law school. For nearly seven years, he had been striving to gain the necessary credentials to make the leap from engineering to law, all the while juggling the responsibilities of work and raising a family. That’s when inspiration hit him.
“I turned around and returned to the interview room,” Hood recalls. “I made a short speech with some passion. What I said obviously had an impact because, approximately three days later, I received an acceptance letter. For me, that was life changing.”
A challenging program
Today, it is Hood who is potentially changing lives. The Yarmouth lawyer has made a gift to the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie that could support students whose experiences mirror his own.
“I do hope that the funds can be used to assist the ‘C’ students out there and in particular those who have family obligations along with their student obligations.”
The oldest of six, and the son of a retailer jeweler, Hood says he was something of a ‘C’ student himself and found the law program at Dalhousie quite challenging.
“I remember at one point in second year, I was struggling some. Professor Graham Murray, who became somewhat of a mentor, took me aside because I was concerned about some marks and he said, ‘Remember, we have ‘A’ students so we can teach students how to become ‘B’ students, who will work for the ‘C’ students’.”
Committed to community
Admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1971, Hood has served his community not just as a divorce, family and fisheries lawyer through his firm, Hood Fraser, but also as a town solicitor, town counsellor and deputy mayor.
“I was brought up to believe that we are supposed to serve our communities one way or another beyond work life,” he explains. “Neither of my contributions that I have been able to make would have been possible were I not admitted to the law school. My admission was a special gift.”
After a long and rewarding legal career in 2012, Hood decided it was the right time to do something substantial beyond the annual donations he’s made to Dalhousie over the years. It’s also to recognize the contributions of his family to his success – his wife of 52 years, Joan, his son, Clifford, who died in a marine accident, and his daughter, Jocelyn, who has been by his side as an assistant, associate, financial advisor and general office manager for 35 years.
“I leave it to the law school and the fund administrators to determine what these funds are used for,” says Hood. “I do hope that there is, in making this gift, a challenge to other practitioners to make similar contributions within their particular means before moving on to full retirement.”