While few records remain of the law school’s earliest days as Balboa Law School, the contributions of its early graduates are indelibly stamped on the history of San Diego and its legal community. Early luminaries include future dean Dwight Stanford ’34 and James Henderson ’31, who helped create the San Diego Youth Symphony.
Another early graduate, Dewitt “Dutch” Higgs, left a legal legacy that extends beyond San Diego. Together with Ferd Fletcher, son of longtime Senator Ed Fletcher, Higgs founded a small law firm in 1939 that stands today as one of San Diego’s largest and most respected.
During his career Higgs laid claim to a number of San Diego “firsts.” He was the first San Diegan named to the State Bar of California Board of Governors and later served 16 years as the first University of California Regent from San Diego. His tenure as a UC Regent included some of the university system’s most controversial moments, including significant community pressure to remove UC San Diego lecturer Herbert Marcuse and the firing of Marcuse’s protégé, controversial UCLA lecturer Angela Davis.
Higgs passed away in 1994 at age 87. California Western honors Higgs and his contributions to law and society through the Dewitt Higgs Memorial Lecture, held each year in conjunction with UC San Diego and the Higgs family.