Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

Couple Gives $100,000 to Support Minority Students at MU Law School

June 19, 2008

Story Contact:  Emily Smith, (573) 882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Sam F. Hamra grew up in the Missouri Bootheel town of Steele, where his father owned a general dry goods and clothing store. Many of the area citizens and customers of the store were African-American. While Hamra was able to go to college, many of his African-American friends could not, simply because of their race and economic circumstances. Because of this experience, Hamra set a goal to provide minorities with the same opportunities that were available to him. Now, almost 60 years later, Sam and his wife, June, are making his goal a reality through a $100,000 donation to the University of Missouri School of Law.

                The Sam F. and June S. Hamra Fund will establish scholarships for African-American students at the MU law school. The couple hopes that these scholarships will encourage current MU minority students to pursue an education in law.

                “Sam and June Hamra are great and loyal Mizzou alumni. Not only is Sam a distinguished graduate of the law school class of 1959, but two of Hamra’s children, Mike, JD ’94, and Jackie, JD ’96, also are law school graduates,” said Larry Dessem, dean of the law school. “The Hamras know firsthand the manner in which the law school trains outstanding lawyers and future leaders. This, their most recent gift to the law school, will ensure that an MU legal education remains accessible to future generations of outstanding and diverse students.”

                According to the Law School Admission Council only 1 in 25 lawyers belongs to a U.S. racial-ethnic minority group, which represents a serious shortage of minority lawyers. The Hamra fund scholarships will be used to help recruit and encourage the matriculation of students who have already applied and qualified for admission to the Law School.

                Sam Hamra earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1954 and a bachelor of laws degree in 1959, both from MU. June Hamra earned a Master of Arts degree from MU in 1959 along with a fellowship to teach voice at the MU School of Music. Sam practices law in Springfield and serves as CEO of Hamra Enterprises, which owns and operates 26 Wendy’s restaurants in Missouri, 29 Panera Bread Cafés in Boston and 16 in Chicago.

                The Sam F. and June S. Hamra Fund at the MU School of Law supports the For All We Call Mizzou campaign, which will celebrate raising $1 billion in the spring of 2009. Reaching this goal will enhance MU’s ability to compete nationally and internationally for the best students and faculty and will provide broad access for students of all economic backgrounds to Missouri’s flagship University. The campaign has raised $941.28 million, 94 percent of goal.